Home News How COVID-19 is Impacting Retail and Foodservice Sales
April 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 sales increased 3% in the week ending May 16.

Source: The NPD Group/Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report, NPD Universe, WE May 16, 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 customer transactions declined by 21% in the week ending May 17 compared to year ago, following a 23% decline in the prior week.

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

General Merchandise Sales Increase As Stores Slowly Re-open

In the week ending May 16, general merchandise sales increased 3% compared to the same time last year. Consumers are willing to spend, but much of that depends on the specific industry. For now, home-related categories remain the growth drivers. We are at a pivotal point as stores look to return to carrying their own weight and online hopes to sustain its recent growth.

Shopping Activity Changes

Total U.S. retail purchasing traffic remained flat versus the prior week in the week ending May 16.

Source: The NPD Group/Checkout, WE May 16, 2020

Industry Perspective

“The consumer’s buying behavior has been consistently changing over the past several weeks, and with much uncertainty still looming, it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As the consumer’s lifestyle goes through this transformation, retail needs to hone in on opportunities to address those changes in order to achieve sustainable long-term growth.”

Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor, Retail

“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

“For food manufacturers it’s more important today than ever to demonstrate your product’s ability to provide comfort and convenience for consumers. Even those who occasionally used restaurants before the outbreak are relying on their home pantries more often and welcome short cuts for their increased work load in the kitchen. As new appliances are purchased and used more often, there is an opportunity to show consumers how your foods and meal preparation solutions fit perfectly with these new gadgets.”

Darren Seifer Industry Analyst, Food Consumption

“The environment we are living in is amplifying our basic needs and desires, and forcing us to find new ways to address them. Home products have been particularly popular during the pandemic, but consumer focus continues to shift. To stay relevant, the industry needs to stay focused on the consumer’s needs and innovate new products and messaging to meet those needs.”

Joe Derochowski Vice President, Industry Advisor, Home

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