PHILADELPHIA — In just a few weeks, consumer behavior has changed rapidly, from preparation and stocking up to realizing a "new normal" of purchasing habits — with specific product category standouts along the way.
As part of goPuff's Integrated Data & Consumer Research practice, the digital retailer released a new white paper that analyzes the changing consumer habits weekly once COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, and provides informed decisions about the long-term effects of the pandemic on consumer trends.
Highlights of the report include:
Week of March 2: Preparations Begin
As cases began to trickle into the U.S., consumers prepared by purchasing items like Purell, cleaning wipes, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and single-use gloves. Purell sales subsequently spiked, increasing more than 400 percent vs. the previous week, and orders for OTC medicines and cleaning products doubled and tripled, respectively.
Week of March 9: Consumers Stock Up
Fearing the worst, shoppers sought peace of mind amid looming uncertainty by buying large quantities of toilet paper, frozen foods, canned goods and baby food. Whereas "candy" was the top search term on goPuff in the previous week, this week's top term is "water," symbolizing the broader COVID-19 induced paradigm shift. Units per order for bathroom products jumped 44 percent vs. the previous week, while cleaning products rose 21 percent per order.
Week of March 16: Settling In
As Americans settled into life in quarantine, they began ordering more energy drinks, school supplies and popcorn to fit their new lifestyle needs. GoPuff customers began ordering earlier in the day, especially when shopping for alcohol or home essentials. The cooking category saw a 112-percent increase over the previous week, and school and office supplies orders increased by 127 percent.
Week of March 23: Stay-at-Home Future
Americans settled in on a new normal and began doubling down on items that facilitate life from home. Coffee orders grew 42 percent since the previous week, as energy drinks similarly outpaced the average growth seen across goPuff categories. Canned, bathroom and baby products saw declines in units per order vs. the week of March 16, suggesting that consumers moved away from a stockpiling/disaster preparedness mindset as another week in quarantine passed.
Week of March 30: Getting Delivery Savvy
As the quarantine wears on, consumers continue to adjust and normalize their shopping habits. While they visited goPuff more frequently, they no longer scoured the app for specific items like water and hand sanitizer. And, while online grocery and convenience shopping primarily resonates with younger, tech-savvy consumers, the pandemic has encouraged older shoppers to see the value these services can add to their lives, with older consumers ordering from all goPuff departments more frequently.
Week of April 6: The End of the Beginning
Entering the next phase of life from home, consumers leaned into do-it-yourself fixes as salons and barbershops remained inaccessible. GoPuff's beauty category grew 113 percent since the first week of March.
To view the complete white paper, and goPuff's suggestions on how COVID-19 will affect consumer behavior in the short- and long-term, click here.
Philadelphia-based goPuff operates in more than 170 U.S. locations, including major cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. and more.