Home News How COVID-19 is Impacting Retail and Foodservice Sales
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 sales increased 5% in the week ending May 23.

Source: The NPD Group/Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report, NPD Universe, WE May 23, 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 Continue to Increase

The Economic Impact Payments, increased unemployment benefits, shifts in discretionary spending, and the need to feed the homebound lifestyle continued to keep retail sales active in the week ending May 23.

Shopping Activity Changes

Total U.S. retail purchasing traffic continued its slow climb in the week ending May 23. Store traffic increased, while online traffic decreased for the third week in a row.

Source: The NPD Group/Checkout, WE May 23, 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

“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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