Coronavirus and Consumer Trends

Like millions of Canadians we are working from home – and working harder than ever to provide the unparalleled level of service we’re known for with as little disruption as possible. As nearly everyone around the globe has seen their day-to-day life change dramatically in a short period of time, we have been paying close attention to how that change has shifted consumer behavior and what that means for you.

It should come as no surprise that the biggest shift has been caused by millions of people exclusively living, working and doing literally everything in between at home. Working from home – as we can attest to – takes some getting used to when it’s not something you do regularly. Most homes weren’t already equipped to be so suddenly repurposed into offices, and consumers are scrambling to make the transition as painlessly as possible. The numbers prove it: office supplies are up 83%.*

Outside of working from home, families are now doing just about everything else there, too. Restaurants are closed and home cooking is clearly on the rise – take one look at Instagram and the countless posts of people showing off their freshly baked bread illustrate the point. Small appliances are trending upwards (an 8% increase*, to be exact), which is no surprise when you think about millions of people looking around their kitchens and not finding the right tool for the job.

Across the board, the grocery and pharmacy markets are busier than ever. Even if you ignore the toilet paper thing, the entire grocery category is up significantly. People are eating at home and stocking up to avoid unnecessary trips out of the house – and looking to find as much as possible in one-stop-shop environments.

With so much more time spent at home, people are looking to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Home environment products like purifiers are up and we’re seeing a small, but significant, increase of 2% in toys* as parents are clearly trying to keep their kids’ restlessness at bay.

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The strange thing about this crisis is that while it’s omnipresent and globally disruptive, people’s conscious awareness of it comes and goes. At times, consumers are focused on getting their home office sorted and looking for the next bingeable show before “finishing” Netflix. At other times, people are justifiably concerned about what’s to come – and that’s affecting their purchase habits in other ways than we’ve discussed so far.

The uncertainty of the global pandemic has caused consumers to make difficult choices and opt for the items considered to be “needs” over those that may be “wants.” For example, the entire beauty category is down 10%* while water filtration devices are up 256%. Clearly consumers are looking for products that promise health and the fulfillment of their more basic needs – at the expense of other categories.

As the situation is evolving every day, consumer behaviors are also adapting and changing. The situation may be uncertain, but you can rely on us to continue to do everything we can to monitor the trends and provide you with the highest level of service and as few disruptions as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Source:
*NPD Group Retail Tracking Service