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The Supply Side: Recent consumer shopping trends signal economic downturn

According to data from market research firm IRI, consumer behaviors have shifted in the past few weeks amid COVID-19 (coronavirus). Consumers are buying more private brands than usual, making more trips to dollar stores and frequenting convenience stores less.

The IRI report indicates the latest shopping trends seem to signal an economic downturn consistent with other periods of recession. Analysts at IRI predict as the COVID-19 crisis drags on, retailers will likely see more recessionary behaviors emerge. Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO, also recently signaled a change in shopping behaviors since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. He said that in the early weeks of the pandemic, customers stockpiled food, toilet paper and other consumables and sanitizing products for sheltering at home.

As more consumers began to work from home and schools closed, home office supplies and snack foods sales rose. McMillon said that trend created larger baskets per trip and fewer trips overall.

Dollar stores such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General tend to offer the lowest price points on many items helping those with thin weekly budgets buy essentials like washing detergent and consumables for $1 each. Dollar Stores are also smaller and less crowded than big box stores. […]

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