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NCSolutions US Household Grocery Spending Trends Aug2020The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food shopping has been visible since the beginning of the crisis, with online grocery sales doubling in March and mobile e-commerce grocery spend growing in Q1, according to previous research. New data [press release] from NCSolutions highlights what these ongoing changes look like when it comes to household consumer packaged goods (CPG).

This year, the average US household spend on grocery has increased year-over-year (y-o-y) each month. After increases of 6% in January and 14% in February, a sizable change can be seen during what NCSolutions defines as the “Home-Confined Buying period” (March 22-June 30). As such, March saw the biggest y-o-y change of any month so far this year (36%), with further growth seen in April (29%), May (21%) and June (17%).

The fact that y-o-y growth after March started to level off can likely be attributed to many US states slowly reopening restaurants and utilizing outside seating space. However, inevitable limits on capacity mean that people are still largely eating at home and that CPG spending remains higher in the latest figures compared to 2019.

That said, the percent change in spending varies between departments. During the Home-Confined Buying period, y-o-y percent change in average daily spending was highest in meat (27%), alcohol (22%) and frozen foods (21%), which the report attributes to a combination of graduations, holidays and warmer weather. In fact, on top of any pandemic-related changes, some seasonal buying patterns are consistent across 2019 and 2020, including spikes in the sales of bakery products and alcoholic beverages in the days leading up to Easter and Memorial Day. But the rise in purchases is likely to be a boon to the CPG industry, which saw only a 2.2% rise in sales last year.

Other categories that saw an increase in average daily spending during this period include dairy (14%), produce (13%), household care (10%), grocery (9%), bakery (5%) and general merchandise (5%). Several CPG categories saw a decrease in spending, including beauty care (-13%), health care (-9%) and personal care (-8%).

Read the data in full here.

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