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COVID-19 Consumer Trends

Published: May 14, 2020

All over the world, consumers are struggling to adapt to the unprecedented changes thrust upon them by the COVID-19 pandemic. Deeply ingrained habits and long-held routines have been upended, and the vacuum left behind has triggered a surge in demand for some industries, while others fight to survive. Here are some statistics that show how dramatic that impact has been:

-  Brand loyalties are being tested: A combination of empty shelves and shifting priorities has pushed consumers to pick up brands they’ve never purchased before. A survey by AlixPartners found that two out of three consumers tried out at least one new product during the month of March, and 25% of them plan to continue using the new product after the crisis ends and their old favorites are available again.[1]

-  Consumers want comfort (food): Junk food has been flying off the shelves in recent weeks, as shoppers stock up on familiar favorites like ice cream, frozen pizza, and potato chips in mass quantities. Cookie dough sales alone have jumped 454% compared to 2019. If that trend holds, the average American stands to eat over 1,000 extra quarantine cookies in 2020.[2]

Summer vacations are cancelled: It’s no surprise that people are moving around less than they were a few months ago. In April, Dollar Flight Club found that the number of flights taking place worldwide dropped by 80%,[3] with ticket prices predicted to drop over 35% on average over the course of 2020.[4]

-  So is (most) shopping: Meanwhile, on a local level, 60% of Americans reported to Shopkick that they were down to one shopping trip per week during the month of April, a 10% jump over March.[5] This lines up with an Acosta study showing an unprecedented surge in grocery delivery orders. About one in three online grocery shoppers placed their first order last month.[6]

-  People are moving more at home: With most gyms closed or operating at a reduced capacity, at-home fitness equipment and subscription services are in demand across the board. According to the NPD Group, exercise equipment sales in the US jumped 130% in March, with weight benches, free weights, and stationary bikes all seeing huge spikes.[7]

-  Everyone needs a distraction: A Nielsen survey conducted in April found that streaming time is up almost 100% since 2019, with Americans watching about154.6 billion minutes of streamed content during the week of April 13.[8] Netflix alone added 15.7 million new subscribers, accounting for one-third of all time spent streaming.


[1] https://www.alixpartners.com/insights-impact/insights/covid-19-disrupts-brand-loyalties/

[2] https://www.newsmax.com/thewire/buying-habits-virus-lockdown-stay-at-home/2020/04/24/id/964525/

[3] https://www.chicagobusiness.com/airlines-airports/airline-industry-now-sees-314-billion-lost-2020-ticket-sales

[4] https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/covid-19-the-global-airline-industry-and-the-impact-on-travel-demand-in-2020-and-into-the-future

[5] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200430005118/en/American-Shopping-Behavior-Evolving-Weekly-COVID-19-Crisis/

[6] https://www.packworld.com/covid-19/article/21131443/acosta-report-covid19-spurs-wave-of-changes-in-consumer-shopping-behavior

[7] https://footwearnews.com/2020/business/retail/home-fitness-sales-march-2020-1202983573/

[8] https://www.adweek.com/tv-video/tv-watchers-settle-into-a-new-normal-amid-covid-19-as-viewership-levels-out/