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May 2020

How COVID-19 is Impacting Consumer Spending

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, NPD is uniquely positioned to help you understand and react to changes as they happen. As the leading provider of sales tracking data covering stores and e-commerce, we report on what is actually occurring in the marketplace.

We will be updating this page frequently with data, expert analysis and other resources to help you navigate this challenging time.

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U.S. Consumption Trends by Week

Compared to last year, U.S. general merchandise dollar sales increased 7% in the week ending July 4.

Source: The NPD Group/Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report, NPD Universe, WE Jul 4, 2020
Industries Included: Apparel, Footwear, Auto Aftermarket, Watches, Housewares, Small Domestic Appliances, Toys, Video, Sports Accessories, Consumer Technology, Office Supplies, Prestige Beauty, Juvenile Products

U.S. restaurant chain transactions declined by 10% in the week ending July 5 compared to year ago.

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Data Source: The NPD Group/CREST® Performance Alerts and ReCount®

Continued Growth at Retail

Retail sales remained strong in the week ending July 4 with 7% growth in dollar sales versus the prior year. Our industry experts note that while dollar sales were up, unit sales declined slightly compared to the prior year. This means less promotional selling and/or higher-priced items with a steady increase in the average sales price.

Shopping Activity Changes

In the week ending July 4, brick-and-mortar purchasing traffic (number of transactions) exceeded pre-COVID-19 levels for the first time since March.

Source: The NPD Group/Checkout, WE Jul 4, 2020

Industry Perspective

“Right now, retail is reflecting the consumer’s need for normalcy in a sea of change. Purchases are becoming less about making our extended time at home more pleasant, and more about finding ways to enjoy ‘getting out’ and once again expressing yourself as an individual in public.”

Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor, Retail

"Broadly speaking, consumers appear to be embracing brands they can trust. According to CivicScience, brand loyalty has gone up during the pandemic. Aggressive discounting to move inventory and additional, non-comp footwear releases are driving much of the positive results right now in the athletic space, and while this is unsustainable, brands will have difficulty getting customers to spend full price. Consumers may, however, be more inclined to spend more on brands with which they have a closer connection, where loyalty and shared values outweigh the monetary cost."

Matt Powell, Vice President, Senior Industry Advisor, Sports

“I’m often asked if sustainability will still be a concern moving forward or if the pandemic pushed that down the priority list. I think the pandemic has driven many consumers to become even more aware of how their actions impact others—and society as a whole—so I believe sustainability and cause-based programs will remain important and brands and retailers should try not to pause their efforts here.”

Beth Goldstein Executive Director, Industry Analyst, Accessories and Footwear

“Digital ordering through restaurant and third-party apps as well as restaurant websites enabled restaurants to quickly pivot and provided consumers with the safer option of remote ordering and delivery. Not only did the necessity of the time accelerate digital orderings, but it also brought in new users. For example, new users currently represent 48% of third-party foodservice delivery app users.”

David Portalatin, Vice President, Industry Advisor, Food

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