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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 11% in the week ending June 27.

Source: The NPD Group/Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report, NPD Universe, WE Jun 27, 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 13% in the week ending June 21 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 June 27 with 11% growth in dollar sales versus the prior year. Our industry experts note that while dollar sales were up, unit sales were flat compared to the prior year. This means less promotional selling and/or higher-priced items with a steady increase in the average sales price. We saw an expected dip after Father’s Day as week-over-week sales declined.

Shopping Activity Changes

In the week ending June 27, total retail purchasing traffic (number of online and in-store transactions) hit the pre-crisis baseline for the second week in a row.

Source: The NPD Group/Checkout, WE Jun 27, 2020

Industry Perspective

“Retailers will need to find creative ways to make it not only comfortable, but also exciting to shop again. A different kind of digital dialog that goes beyond traditional descriptions, addressing the touch, feel, and quality of a product, can be a powerful tool in making up for some of what is lost in the virtual shopping environment.”

Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor, Retail

“Consumers appear to be embracing brands they can trust. According to CivicScience, brand loyalty has gone up during the pandemic. I think consumers will begin to gravitate even more so to the tried-and-true brands they trust, and I expect that their purchases will become more pragmatic. For example, we may see a shift away from sport lifestyle footwear to a more versatile and multipurpose performance shoe.”

Matt Powell, Vice President, Senior Industry Advisor, Sports

“With summer quickly approaching and many parents expecting to continue working from home, keeping children busy will become even more of a priority. Parents will be looking for more solutions to keep their kids active and engaged during the summer months, which will undoubtedly bode well for the toy industry overall.”

Juli Lennett Vice President, Industry Advisor, Toys

“Among the most interesting behaviors we’re seeing is the rapid escalation of using technology to engage with restaurants. Going forward, we might expect a digital divide that sets apart restaurants with well-executed digital offerings and requires those without to turn to the newfound prowess of third-party platforms.”

David Portalatin, Vice President, Industry Advisor, Food

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