IRI Offers Closer View of CPG Pandemic Trends

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IRI Offers Closer View of CPG Pandemic Trends

By Thad Rueter - 04/28/2020
Frozen food and alcohol are popular with retail shoppers
The coronavirus pandemic is sparking new CPG trends

IRI is putting its finger closer to the pulse of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) word during the COVID-19 pandemic by launching a new IRI CPG Demand Index designed to help retailers understand how spending habits are changing during the ongoing outbreak.

Among the new findings: Panic buying has subsided, and consumers still love frozen food during the times of social isolation and economic anxiety.

The new Index includes “daily sales data reported from 12 major chains’ daily point-of-sale and e-commerce transactions nationwide, as well as a fully automated forecasting solution,” IRI said. The Chicago-based data analytics and market research company has also launched associated features such as a COVID-19 Info Portal along with a Data Dashboard that's refreshed in real time. To further help retailers understand pandemic-related changes, IRI recently released a report, “The Changing Shape of the CPG Demand Curve.”

“Our CPG and retail clients are essential businesses serving critical needs in communities across the globe, and we are proud to be helping them navigate the monumental changes in their industries and the rapidly evolving demand landscape,” said John McIndoe, EVP and chief marketing officer for IRI. “The IRI CPG Demand Index will add another dimension to our ability to support our clients with data and forward-looking analysis to help manage out-of-stocks, enhance supply chain efficiency and more accurately forecast demand. In addition, we are regularly publishing research and insights to our new COVID-19 Info Portal that provides granular, real-time information and analysis for an even deeper understanding of the unprecedented current environment.”

CPG Product Spikes

The latest IRI data shows that social isolation and other responses to the pandemic have already sparked significant CPG and retail trends. For instance, panic shopping – a feature of the early part of the outbreak – appears to have leveled off, although overall dollar spending demand for CPG product departments, categories and formats has increased 13% year over year as of the week ended April 12. The Frozen food category stands as the leader when it comes to highest demand levels, up 31% year over year. Alcohol demand has spiked 27%, thanks to the closing of bars and restaurants, IRI said. Consumers continue to shop heavily for food at grocery stories, with this activity up 33%.

For stores, “total trips are down 4% and have slowed dramatically from their peak in mid-March," IRI said. "Even with consumption up, edible trips remain on par compared to a year ago; nonedible trips are down 3% as consumers work through their stockpile of goods.”

CPG, supply chain and other areas vital to retail operations will certainly continue to undergo shifts as the pandemic keeps consumers inside and away from work, and as governments at all levels figure out how to best reopen the national economy.