Nielsen Identifies Coronavirus Buying Patterns

Nielsen has identified six consumer behavior threshold levels that tie to concerns around the coronavirus outbreak. The six threshold levels are based on early indicators across markets, and each one correlates with different levels of consumption, though there are some common timing elements which are primarily driven by news cycles.

Nielsen’s Six Consumer Behavior Thresholds:

  1. Proactive health-minded buying. Consumer interest rises in products that support the overall maintenance of health and wellness.
  2. Reactive health management. Consumers prioritize products essential to virus containment, health, and public safety.
  3. Pantry preparation. Consumers stockpile shelf-stable foods and a broader assortment of health-safety products. There’s a spike in-store visits and growing basket sizes.
  4. Quarantined living preparation. There is an increase in online shopping, a decline in-store visits, many products are out-of-stock and there are strains on the supply chain.
  5. Restricted living. Consumers severely restrict shopping trips, online fulfillment is limited, price concerns rise as limited stock availability impacts pricing.
  6. Living a new normal. People return to daily routines but operate with a renewed cautiousness about health. There are permanent shifts in supply chains, the use of e-commerce, and hygiene practices.

“We’re already seeing additional markets enter the threshold of restricted living,” said Nielsen’s global intelligence leader Scott McKenzie, in a statement. “As patterns begin to emerge in response to news events of this nature, it will be imperative for companies to learn from these scenarios so they can sustain growth even in times where COVID-19 has uprooted people’s lives. These patterns will help provide leading and trailing indicators to those trying to understand how people will respond as developments continue to play out at different times in different countries.”