North America is currently feeling COVID-19’s impact. In the United States, places that were impacted by COVID-19 early on saw a surge in purchases of fast-moving consumer goods, such as packaged and frozen foods. Consumers are also purchasing paper products and home care items at an increased rate. Some people deliberately stock up on certain products, with over half of respondents purchasing with the hopes of supplies lasting about two weeks. In Canada, people are more frequently purchasing dry and canned goods, as well as home goods products such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Over half of Canadian respondents living in Manitoba stated that they had made food provisions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In both countries, most markets for legal cannabis have seen a decrease in inventory, though Nevada is a notable exception. Baby boomers’ legal cannabis consumption has decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, members of Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z increased purchases, perhaps to keep up the comfort levels at home while decreasing the frequency of going out to the store.
The coronavirus was first noted in Latin America on February 26, when Brazil established a case in São Paulo. Since then, governments across the region have taken an assortment of actions to protect their citizens and contain COVID-19’s spread. Meanwhile, citizens are modifying their behavior to stop the spread of the virus. Brazil saw an increase of consumption of hygiene goods, especially face masks and antibacterial gels. Hand sanitizers had a sales growth of 623 percent from March 2019. Colombian consumers purchased around thirty percent more household cleaning products than this time last year. In Argentina, most consumers purchase more personal care and household cleaning products, as well as purchase more substantial amounts in order to decrease trips to the store.
COVID-19 continues to spread across Europe, and governments are taking action with travel advisories and school closures. Consumers, in turn, are changing their spending habits in various parts of the continent. In Italy, household cleaners and personal care products were bought in higher quantities. Compared to the previous year, sales of over-the-counter health care products increased by 100 percent in Italy. Within the UK, more frozen and packaged foods are purchased. Around twenty percent of UK consumers are stockpiling goods, though stockpiling is viewed as unacceptable by the majority of the population surveyed. In Germany, goods hoarded tend to be pantry items such as flour and rice, as well as disinfecting products. This is similar to Russia, where consumers stockpiled cereals and canned food goods the most, as well as masks.
The first impacts the virus had on the Chinese market were apparent already in February of 2020. Several consumer product categories saw a serious online median price fluctuation, while other products faced shortages on e-commerce platforms. Similarly, in Hong Kong, the most recently out-of-stock items were all-purpose bleach, cleaning wipes, and paper towels, meaning that consumers purchased these items beyond supply capacity. Emergency food sales online in South Korea increased massively, especially in the case of canned foods, which grew by 268 percent compared to the previous week. Australia, which had over five thousand cases as of April 7, 2020, also saw boosts in online purchases of certain products. Pasta, eggs, and canned meals were the food items with the largest increases in sales. It is uncertain what the exact long-term effects of COVID-19 on the FMCG market will be, but the pandemic's economic and social significance is already apparent.
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