FMCG and Retail Insights to Manage the Impact of COVID-19

The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on business across the globe, including FMCG and retail. IRI is closely tracking developments in our industry to help our clients understand the resulting changes in consumer and shopper behaviour across categories, brands, channels and retailers in the areas affected by the virus. Our goal is to help companies successfully determine how to best handle promotions, out-of-stocks, pricing and assortment to meet the changing needs of consumers.

This page is updated regularly with the latest data and insights from IRI. If you have specific questions related to your business, please reach out to your IRI representative or contact

IRI is regularly publishing reports to provide an overview on what's happening across key markets and guidance for CPG manufacturers and retailers to support consumers during the crisis.

The latest report brought to you by IRI in partnership with BCG.

April 2, 2020
March 26, 2020
March 19, 2020

IRI Reports on Impact of COVID-19 for CPG and Retail


Lessons from Italy; how Covid-19 might continue to affect your retailing landscape during lockdown

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Observations and Implications


Consumers have been focused on boosting their immunity to fight COVID-19. Vitamins, supplements, probiotics and other immune-boosting products have all been in demand to the point where some retailers have imposed limits to preserve stock. In addition, limits have been imposed on pain relief, particularly paracetamol in light of the advice issued regarding ibroprofen.


Whilst dry pasta was one of the earlier categories to benefit from panic buying, anecdotal evidence shows that lasagne sheets remain on the shelf, as more labour-intensive meals may not have been on the menu. Over time, shoppers have branched out into areas such as canned meats, beans and home baking.
In-home food and beverage will increase significantly, resulting in both increased consumption and pantry stocking.


Work-from-home, Self-Isolation and restricted socialising can result in consumers using fewer cosmetics and haircare products.
Household cleaning products are experiencing increased purchase patterns. Manufacturers can expect product sales to taper significantly as it will take time for consumers to use the abundance of products recently purchased.
DIY, Gardening & Home Improvements will likely see a boost as consumers try to find activities to occupy their time during periods of isolation.
Office supplies & school items
As people prepare for an extended period of time at home, we might expect to see an increase in sales of office supplies as well as stationery and craft supplies.


Food delivery, click and collect, online shopping and home delivery will continue to increase as consumers avoid going to areas where there are large gatherings.
Click and collect and home delivery must be every retailer’s business priority, as long-term shopper behaviour could change.
Cocoon-stocking will reflect household makeup, with indulgent items, such as DVDs, confections, salty snacks and alcohol sales increasing; however, spring holiday shopping may take a hit.
“Off-grid” thinking had already become popular with various segments of society but this will likely see growth as people consider taking preventative action to ready themselves should something like this happen again in the future. Anecdotally, we hear of an increase in sales of compost, seeds and gardening equipment.


Out of stocks are likely across high-demand categories; manufacturers will focus on production of top SKUs to meet demand; expect fewer options but satisfactory supply levels of most in-demand products.
Stockable items continue to be very popular with consumers (besides obvious ones like sanitising wipes), e.g., shelf-stable and frozen food items, sports drinks, water, toilet paper, etc.


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