Look What You Made Me Do

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Wondering now why you did it: Why did you buy all that toilet paper?

We know the answer. You saw someone with a cart full of it and, suddenly, you wanted it more than anything else.

In case you’re now wondering how long your hoard of toilet paper will last you, someone terrific out there designed a simple toilet paper calculator for you. Just enter the number of rolls you have to estimate how many trips you make to el baño each day. Word on the street is that ours is going to last for 197 days.

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

Data from IRI, a market analytics firm specializing in consumer trends, has shared national findings on how shoppers are dealing with COVID-19. In general, consumers continue to replenish their stockpile, as over half are using the food and beverages they had previously stocked-up on. A March 27-29, 2020 survey of representative primary grocery shoppers collected from IRI’s National Consumer Panel found these trends among shoppers:

  • 55% are limiting trips to the store by making larger trips versus 43% last week.
  • 47% are stocking up on pantry staples and essentials more than usual. Among those stocking up, the top goal continues to be a two-week supply.
  • The buying of sanitizing products has stabilized but growth may be suppressed by availability issues.
  • 19% are stocking up on over-the-counter drugs despite not being ill; 17% are buying more immunity boosters such as vitamins and probiotics.
  • 18% more are buying fresh foods rather than 15% last week.
  • Online grocery shopping continues to increase: 13% versus 9% last week.
  • 50% say they’ve chosen a store brand or private label item because the name brand they usually buy was unavailable.
  • 90% say that at least one of the grocery/household items they wanted to buy was out-of-stock (OOS) in the past month:
    • Toilet Paper is still the top OOS item impacting 68% of shoppers.
    • Rubbing alcohol, disposable gloves, and pain relievers are in high demand too.
    • Milk was the only category to show improvement versus the prior week with an increase of 6% availability.

And, Don’t Stop Believin’

Coping tactics continue to rise as Americans are staying home longer. That same IRI report notes that 78% of consumers are seeking out moments of joy or doing activities to try to reduce stress in the past week versus 70% a week ago. Top choices are:

  • 40% say they are doing more to proactively take care of their physical and emotional health due to COVID-19.
  • 36% are spending more time on social media versus 30% last week.
  • 35% report more time on phone/video chat with friends and family versus 31% last week.
  • 33% are getting outside more often, up from 26% last week.
  • Compared to 19% last week, 24% say they are eating more.
  • 11% are drinking more alcohol.

For some of us, it might be time to put this note on the refrigerator door: “If you were here 10 minutes ago, come back in two hours. Make it three.”

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