As the COVID-19 outbreak accelerates in Europe and the United States, governments, businesses, and consumers are changing behaviors rapidly – this is reflected in consumer purchases in Italy, France, United States, Germany, New Zealand, and United Kingdom.

In its April 2 report titled “COVID-19 Impact: Consumer Spending Tracker for Measured Channels – U.S., UK, France, Italy, Germany, NZ,” Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI) collaborated with its partners at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to analyze the latest consumer purchases in these respective countries.

In the United States, IRI National Consumer Panel data shows customers are both making more trips and buying larger baskets in the most recent two weeks. Both pantry stocking and smaller quick trips were up significantly.

For example, dollar sales were up 3 percent (totaling $16.4 billion) for the week ending March 1 and up 13 percent (totaling $17.9 billion for the week ending March 8. However, the weeks ending March 15 and 22 showcase a starker jump. For the week ending March 15, dollar sales were up 64 percent, bring the actual sales total to $25.2 billion. Meanwhile for the week ending March 22, dollar sales were up 61 percent resulting in an actual total sales of $24.3 billion.

These weeks show a similar jump in terms of trips per household. For March 1, trips per household were up 4 percent (4.3 actuals), while trips per household were up 10 percent (4.6 actuals) for the week ending March 8. By comparison, trips per household increased 39 percent (5.9 actuals) for the week ending March 15. These same results repeated for the week ending March 22.

IRI data also shows that compared with last year, pantry trips but also smaller trips have significantly grown. The report states that pantry stocking trips are up 65 percent versus a year ago, while smaller trips grew 38 percent compared with a year ago. Dollar sales of these trips also are up with spend in smaller trip up 50 percent versus a year ago, while spend in pantry stocking trips up 78 percent versus a year ago.

eCommerce trends in the United States show a significant uptick starting the week ending March 15, although brick & mortar sales spiked similarly, leaving overall online share slightly down.

IRI’s report notes that online edible only sales were up 95 percent for the week ending March 15. By comparison online sales were up 75 percent and online nonedible only sales were up 67 percent for that week.

Sales performance total stores continues to be up in the United States with IRI data showing an increase of 48.4 percent for the week ending March 22 compared with the same period from last year. Within the edibles categories, the beverage category showcased a 28.2 percent increase while alcohol was up 39.6 percent, the report shows.

Within the United States beverage category, the market research firms also reported strong growth for the market’s largest sub-categories. For instance, regular carbonated soft drink (CSD) sales had increased 19.5 percent for the week ending March 22. Meanwhile low-calorie CSD sales were up 28.1 during the same period. The largest gains were from convenience/PET still bottled and non-aseptic sports drinks, which were up 36.5 percent and 29.9 percent, respectively. Non-aseptic energy drink sales actually posted a decline with sales down 3.3 percent compared with the previous year.

The largest sub-categories within the beverage alcohol market also experienced strong increases. Domestic beer/ale including alcohol-free varieties were up 33.2 percent for the period ending March 22. Meanwhile, imported beer/ale including alcohol-free varieties was up 27.5 percent. The spirits market and the domestic table/still wine segment reported the strongest gains, up 62.8 percent and 45.5 percent, respectively.

The U.S. data represents transactions from the POS database with data collected in multi-outlet plus convenience (MULOC) channels, which include grocery, drug stores, convenience stores, mass merchandisers, Walmart, club and dollar chains, and DECA stores. Costco data is not included.