For the week ending March 28 – and for the second consecutive week – shoppers continued making fewer trips to grocery and drug stores across the United States, while spending more per visit, compared with the week ending March 14 and with the same period in 2019, according to shopper intelligence firm Catalina Marketing.
Total sales dollars per store continued to be up by an average of 13% versus the year-ago period. Meanwhile, the number of shopping trips fell by 13% compared with the same period in 2019, even as the amount spent per visit grew by 31% over the prior year.
Further, with an estimated three out of four Americans now sheltering in place, Catalina found that the top three categories with the greatest rise in sales on a percentage basis reveal that consumers’ interest in baking continues to increase, with flour sales up 154% and baking mix sales up 99% over the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, people’s efforts to keep their homes free of the virus resulted in a 102% surge in sales of household cleaning products the week ending March 28 from last year. At the same time, the categories seeing the greatest declines nationally included greeting cards (down 54%), chewing gum (down 41%) and beauty aids (down 36%) versus a year ago.
To illustrate the major effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on shopping decisions and buyer behavior in the United States, St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Catalina has created an interactive map reporting sales data for 78 major grocery and drug categories from states across the country, plus the District of Columbia, going back to the week ending Feb. 15, when coronavirus awareness and concerns really began to take hold.
“During this extraordinarily stressful time, we are pleased to share data from our Buyer Intelligence Database to demonstrate how buying trends and shoppers’ behavior have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Catalina Chief Marketing Officer Marta Cyhan. “We are using this information to advise our retail and CPG customers on how best to manage their marketing and supply chain decisions during the crisis, and to better prepare them for when the country and the world emerge from it.”