IRI study says U.S. consumers pessimistic about coming months

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CHICAGO — As IRI continues to monitor COVID-19, its latest analysis, Consumers Provide Pessimistic View of Coming Months,” finds that U.S. consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the health crisis and the long-term economic impact.

COVID-19 U.S. Implications

  • With nearly 60% of consumers believing the COVID-19 pandemic will last more than three months and 92% believing the economy will be negatively impacted for more than three months, consumers are exhibiting recession-like sentiment now, and recession-like purchasing behaviors are expected to soon follow.
  • Total store purchases decreased by nearly 27% for the week ending March 29. Retail sales are declining across all channels compared to previous weeks due to stockpiling during previous weeks and consumers following social distancing guidelines. However, sales for the week remain above pre-COVID-19 levels
  • Categories across the store saw dramatic sales dips, such as soup (-45%), laundry detergent (-44%) and frozen dinners and entrées (-39%). However, more than half of consumers report purchasing more private label products to save money.
  • Convenience and gas stores are continuing to see sales decline as consumers focus on pantry stocking and staying at home. However, convenience is seeing an uptick in non-traditional categories, such as non-edible grocery, baby care, paper products and household cleaners, since these items are out of stock in other channels.
  • During the last four weeks, the beer, wine and spirits category saw a significant penetration spike, with a number of new buyers, likely due to limited availability of on-premise consumption with “stay-at-home” orders in a vast majority of the states. Shoppers shifted to both larger and value packages, but premium products continued to do well. We have observed similar patterns in other food and beverage categories.


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