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Impact of COVID-19 on FMCG shopping behavior in Belgium 2020

Shopping behavior in Belgium changed drastically due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since week eight of 2020, both the frequency of shopping trips and the amount of money spent per trip rose constantly. For instance, in week 11 of 2020, the average amount of shopping trips made by Belgian consumers increased by nearly ten percent. However, the frequency of trips fell back to normal in week 12 of 2020. Nonetheless, by week 12 of 2020, Belgian shoppers spent almost 22 percent more money per shopping trip than in week 12 of 2019. In March 2020, the number of coronavirus cases in Belgium started to rise rapidly.

Shopping behavior change in a European context

The increased shopping frequency went hand in hand with increased spending, indicating that Belgian consumers were keen to stock up, much like in the Netherlands, their neighbors to the north. Other European countries such as France and Spain were already on the verge of a total lockdown; the apprehension of such a lockdown of society possibly caused Belgian consumers to stock up on supplies. As became apparent later, their fears were not ungrounded.

Lockdown in Belgium

A government-imposed lockdown came into effect in Belgium on March 18, 2020, in the middle of week 12. The Belgian federal government demanded that citizens stay in their own homes, only being allowed to make trips for “essential” reasons, such as stocking up on supplies. The present graph shows how this had a direct effect on the frequency of shopping trips, which decreased compared to the week before. In contrast, the amount of money spent per trip increased even further, indicating that the lockdown did not end the hoarding of consumer goods.

FMCG shopping behavior changes in Belgium due to coronavirus in weeks 6 to 12 of 2020

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

Weeks 6-12, 2020

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Statistics on "Food trends in Belgium"

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