US food and grocery shopping habits changed by a year in the Covid pandemic according to the latest NCSolutions consumer survey and consumer purchasing data

On the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, NCSolutions performed a 12-month analysis of its consumer purchase data as well as the results of a new site (March 2021) Nationally representative consumer survey of 2,017 respondents, aged 18 or over. The combination of these two data sources shows how the US grocery cart has evolved over the past year. The information also shows what other consumer behaviors have changed as a result of this pandemic, which could potentially have a lasting impact.

Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have made cleaning and disinfecting their homes a top priority to prevent the spread of the virus. According to the consumer survey, almost all respondents – 96% – say they spend the same (55%) or more (41%) cleaning now than before the pandemic.

In terms of how much they spend on cleaning and disinfecting their home, 89% say they have spent as much (54%) or more (35%) since the start of the pandemic. Notably, nearly a third of consumers (32%) say they have no plans to return to their pre-pandemic cleaning rates.

NCS consumer purchasing data supports this consumer sentiment. Spending on cleaning products increased 36% year-on-year (Mar 2020-February 2021) compared to the same period the previous year. The increase is greater than in any other category of grocery store.

Consumers also report that they place a high priority on maintaining physical health. Eating healthy food is one of the ways 47% of survey respondents say they took care of themselves during the pandemic, and 38% say they exercise regularly.

A significant number of respondents follow expert guidance. Eight in 10 consumers say they wear masks, three-quarters of those surveyed practice social distancing and more than half say they take vitamins and supplements (55%), according to the NCSolutions consumer survey.

These behaviors affect how and where consumers shop. According to the survey results, 42% of consumers say they go to the grocery store to leave their home and feel normal, a sign that they are taking care of their mental health. On the other hand, more than one in four consumers say it is stressful to do their grocery shopping in person at the grocery store.

No matter where they shop, Americans add healthy foods and supplements to their shopping carts. Spending on fresh produce increased 24% year-over-year, and purchases of vitamins and supplements increased 21% year-over-year, according to consumer purchasing data from NCS .

“The big question that is on everyone’s mind is, which of these newly formed behaviors will stay? Looking at the story, we see many examples of behaviors that changed after the crisis. After the excesses of the Roaring Twenties and the poverty of the Depression, for example, many people have become extremely careful about money. Some have gone so far as to save money in their mattresses – a behavior that has lasted for decades, ”said Linda duprée, CEO, NCSolutions.

“We expect Americans to continue their heightened interest in CPG products and activities that promote personal care and well-being – both physical and emotional – for some time. “

OPTIMISM WINS PRECAUTION (graphic available here)
The survey finds that more than half of Americans (56%) don’t think the pandemic will subside until 2022 or later, while 80% are optimistic about the post-vaccine environment.

While waiting for spring and summer, 41% of consumers say they plan to drive to destinations away from home, while 38% say they plan to host social gatherings outdoors. One in three Americans (34%) plan to eat more in restaurants. However, only 30% say they plan to visit public places.

Cooking at home is now a staple of the American diet. Almost half (47%) of those surveyed say they cook more often now than before the pandemic.

Frozen foods (29%), staples such as grains and dry beans (28%), and bakery ingredients (27%) were the fastest growing food categories during the pandemic, according to reports. NCS consumer purchase data. Many of these high growth categories reflected the need to keep pantries well stocked and to encourage more home cooking.

TELEVISION AS AN EMOTIONAL BALM (graphic available here)
Home entertainment has played an important role as an emotional healer during the pandemic. According to the Consumer Survey, 69% of Americans say watching TV and movies is the main activity they engage in to care for themselves emotionally since the start of the pandemic. When it comes to other media, Americans use it as a source of coping, 33% of Americans use social media more, and 28% say they read magazines and books more.

Forty-two percent of consumers say they enjoy more meals and drinks at home, a sign of the convergence of home cooking and entertainment. A dinner and an “out” movie turned into a dinner and an “in” show.

Snacking while engaging in entertainment options is another way Americans cope while being more confined to home. Ninety-one percent of Americans report snacking while watching TV or doing other forms of home entertainment, and 67% report snacking while enjoying some form of home entertainment.

The top 10 food and household items that Americans say should always have a supply in their home include cleaning products (81%), which rank # 1. But six other elements related to the management of physical and emotional health were also deemed necessary. These include health items such as pain relievers and thermometers (63%); proteins such as chicken, fish and eggs (63%); fresh fruits and vegetables (63%); snack foods (58%); baking ingredients (55%); and vitamins and supplements (54%).

“Pandemic pantries, home entertainment, the cleaning mania, fixation on health and wellness and increased grocery spending, is the American sensibility today,” said Lance Brothers, Director of Revenue, NCSolutions. “This information on spending and consumer sentiment is indicator for CPG advertisers of how the market is going. As spring and summer approach, Americans are viewing the pandemic with a light at the end of the tunnel. They will continue to adapt to the next phase of the market, making this an ideal time for the CPG brands to increase their presence in the market to increase their market share. ”

After a full year of pandemic shopping, spending on consumer packaged goods (CPGs) grew on average 14% year-over-year compared to march 2020 through February 2021, compared to the previous year (March 2019February 2020), according to the latest NCS purchasing data.

NCSolutions (NCS) improves the way advertising works. Our unmatched data resources powered by leading vendors combine with scientific rigor and cutting-edge technology to enable the CPG ecosystem to create and deliver more effective ads. Using NCS’s proven approach, brands achieve continuous optimization wherever ads appear, with purchase-based audience targeting and sales measurement solutions that have impacted more than $ 25 billion in media spending for our clients. NCS has offices in New York, Chicago, Tampa, and Cincinnati. Visit us at to learn more.

The online survey was conducted from February 26 to March 2, 2021. It has 2,017 respondents, aged 18 and over, the results being weighted to be representative of the entire US population (variables available on request). NCS provides regular data and information to brands to help them optimize their advertising reach and get a better return on ad spend.

Feintuch Communications
Henri feintuch / Doug wright / Chris Hamilton
914-548-6924 / 201-952-6033 / 518-307-9904
[email protected]

SOURCE NCSolutions

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