Consumer demand begins to stabilise towards previous year trends in Europe and the US, latest Consumer Spending Tracker shows

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IRI has released its latest Consumer Spending Tracker covering the UK, France, Italy, Germany, US, New Zealand, and now Greece and the Netherlands.

As the Covid-19 outbreak accelerates in Europe and the United States, governments, businesses, and consumers are changing behaviours rapidly – this is reflected in consumer purchases in Italy, France, US, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, New Zealand, and the UK, researchers found. 

Across geographies, consumer demand appears to be beginning to stabilise toward previous year trends although in some categories demand is significantly higher or lower than the previous year, the study shows.

In the United States, the second group of states to issue “stay-at-home” orders showed a spike in edible product sales slightly later than the first group, but followed a similar timeline on non-edible products.

E-commerce is continuing to show very strong growth over last year in the US, Italy, and France. In Italy and France, there is a consistent, increasing shift to e-commerce since the beginning of the crisis. In the US, in-store sales grew more than e-commerce initially, but spending is beginning to revert more online post-stockpiling, the Tracker reveals.

The Tracker illustrates how countries are at different points in the crisis and are dealing with different levels of infection during this latest analysis period. The UK, Netherlands and New Zealand lag other nations with the closure of non-essential businesses occurring on 23 March versus 12 March in Italy, 13 March in Greece, 14 March in France and 16 March in Germany.

Consumer spending tracking shows sales for the week ending 9 February to 29 March began to normalise to prior year levels across all countries and that consumers in most countries are shifting to steady-state purchasing post-stockpiling.

In Italy, non-edible categories are generally trending down; while frozen foods continue driving edible.

In France, OTC healthcare, personal care & cosmetics declined versus a year ago and after significant stockpiling; while edible categories record a flattening.

In Germany non-edible categories are stabilizing to prior year levels; and edible categories are also flattening. Similar trends occurred in the UK for both non-edible and edible categories and with no Easter spike.

In the US paper products continue trending down but are still driving non-edible increases. Edible products are flattening but still remain elevated versus the previous year.