Eighty-four percent of Americans have seen shortages of high-demand products during the spread of COVID-19, up from only 37% at the beginning of the month, according to the latest findings from the Consumer Brands Association. Since March 4, Consumer Brands has conducted a weekly poll of American adults’ attitudes toward the coronavirus. Now in its fourth week, the survey has seen significant swings in how consumers are responding to this national crisis.
“This pandemic has impacted every American, changing our daily lives in unprecedented ways,” says Consumer Brands President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “While Americans’ concerns about the coronavirus and their ability to access essential products is high, we’re beginning to see slight declines in both, indicating a shift in sentiment and experiences around our ‘new normal.’”
Four weeks ago, the level of concern over coronavirus was more tentative, with just 37% saying they were “very concerned.” Now that number has risen to 54%. The change in concern mirrors a change in grocery shopping behavior. In the weeks since the coronavirus has spread across the country, the percentage of consumers who report stocking up on staples has jumped from 22% to 67%. An increasing number of Americans are pursuing options that do not require in-store shopping. On March 4, only 18% reported buying online or using delivery services like Instacart or Amazon Fresh; now that number has risen to 39%.
While most Americans have at least a week or more’s supply, access to essential products is still a substantial concern. More than 70% report they are concerned about having access to food and beverage products, with more than six-in-ten expressing concern over access to household products (67%), cleaning supplies (63%), and over-the-counter medicines (62%). This week’s numbers, however, are slightly lower than the prior week’s survey, showing that while access concerns are still prevalent, more Americans may be seeing stocked shelves again.
“The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is committed to meeting consumers’ needs for daily essentials, lending as much normalcy to their lives as it can,” says Freeman. “Ensuring Americans have access to the products they depend on every day is our top priority. Consumer Brands is intensely focused on removing barriers to access and keeping the CPG supply chain moving.”
The Consumer Brands Association is working with federal, state and local governments to ensure CPG manufacturing facilities can stay running and employees stay safe. For more information about how the CPG industry is responding to the coronavirus, visit consumerbrandsassociation.org/coronavirus.