As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, retail behavior has been completely flipped on its head as a result of self-distancing measures. However, consumers are still spending, with 60% of Americans planning on shopping as much or more due to the pandemic. (Source: Google Surveys) With 91% of Americans facing stay-at-home orders, brick-and-mortar store traffic has plummeted as consumers shift their shopping online. Although in-store visits have been cut from daily routines and millions of working citizens are facing financial challenges as a result of the outbreak, there seems to be no slowing down of overall purchasing behavior.

Brands are faced with a decision of whether to increase, decrease or maintain marketing investment levels in comparison to the pre-quarantine period. The chart below shows that year over year retail sales have increased exponentially during this time and brands need to evaluate whether they are in one of these “growth” categories or not in order to make the most informed decision on how to allocate their marketing dollars.

Spending by category for 2020 vs 2019

Source: Numerator Coronavirus Index

Through March, US Shoppers are spending more in 2020 than they did last year across almost every category.

The chart above shows spending by category for 2020 vs 2019. During the week of March 15, 2020 consumers spent 42% more across these categories than they did in 2019. Categories to pay attention to throughout the quarantine period include Dollar, Grocery, Club, and Liquor. 

Since this quarantine period continues to show that shoppers are willing to keep spending and even spend more, marketers need to reevaluate their entire business and decide how it fits within the new “At Home” consumer mindset. There is plenty of opportunity for growth in the next few months if the correct advertising channels and relevant messages are combined to reach and fulfill a new set of consumer needs.

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