Impact of COVID-19 on in-store retail sales in the Netherlands March 2020

In-store retail sales on the final weekend of March 2020 were significantly lower than in the weekend before. DIY and gardening sales decreased by more than 35 percent, and the other sectors suffered sales losses of ten percent or more. Whereas sales in some categories, such as groceries and health & beauty, were stable over the course of the weekend, categories such as fashion and clothing had a major downturn on the Sunday, compared to the day before. Retail sales in March 2020 were all in all heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in the Netherlands.

COVID-19 and its impact on retail


From a broad perspective, this enormous sales decrease compared to the week before indicates a decline in the collective practice of pantry stockpiling that occurred in March 2020 in the Netherlands. In spite of government discouragement, coronavirus concerns among Dutch citizens led to widespread hoarding of (preservable) food, home office supplies, DIY products and other Fast-Moving Consumer Goods. This increased sales in most retail sectors throughout the month, but the present data suggests that this rise came to an end on the 28th of March.

How representative is this statistic for all of the Netherlands?


The data provided here comes from Stocard, an app which stores loyalty cards onto a customer’s smartphone in a digital wallet. The loyalty application also shows discounts, catalogues, coupons and flyers of selected retailers. This raises a potential question whether the use of mobile payments or digital wallets is widespread enough in the Netherlands to fully represent all consumer behavior. First, the app had around three million users in the country in 2020 on an overall population of over 17 million. Second, the Netherlands seems open to alternative payment methods. Dutch consumers are, for example, expected to increasingly use mobile payment methods for clothes or food. Also, one third of all wearable transactions in Europe in 2019, such as payments via smartwatches, fitness wristbands or stickers, came from the Netherlands. This data therefore might not represent all Dutch consumers (the data does not include debit cards payments, for example). Digital wallets, however, are seemingly more used in the Netherlands than in other countries.

In-store retail sales change in the Netherlands on March 28 and 29, 2020, by category

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Sources

Release date

April 2020

Region

Netherlands

Survey time period

March 28-29, 2020

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