CPG 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 CPG and retail. IRI is closely tracking developments in our industry using our data sources (point-of-sale, loyalty, panel, e-commerce and social media) to help our clients understand the resulting changes in consumer and shopper behavior across categories, brands, channels and retailers in the areas affected by the virus. Our goal is to help companies successfully manage real-time supply/demand chain issues and 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@IRIworldwide.com.


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The Latest Reports and Insights from IRI


In partnership with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), IRI is releasing ongoing consumer spending tracking reports with insights across eight countries, including the U.S.


June 5, 2020 Report

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IRI’s latest reports and analyses share what’s happening with CPG in the U.S. and shares solutions for manufacturers and retailers to help them manage through the pandemic.


July 6, 2020 Report

View U.S. report archive>>


Analyses from IRI around the world provides insights into how the pandemic is impacting consumer and shopper behavior across countries, and guidance on how to move forward.


June 18, 2020 Report

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IRI’s Media Center of Excellence has developed a guide on advertising during a pandemic. It includes an overview of current media buying and consumption trends, overall and category-specific recommendations and how IRI can help advertisers navigate new challenges.

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Blogs on COVID-19 Topics

CPG Consumers Seeing Price Increases and Out-of-Stocks as COVID-19 Launches a Recessionary Period

So much has changed during the past few months since COVID-19 became a public health crisis and has now morphed into a financial pandemic creating havoc in the U.S. and globally.

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When Consumers Want to Stock up and Get Out: Integrated Insights Capture High-Value Shoppers on the Fly

We are now a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

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CPG Stockpiling: What to Expect Now and When It’s Over

Past crises provide a look at the short- and long-term effects of stockpiling behavior.

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Webinars on COVID-19 Topics

Advertising Through a Pandemic

During this webinar, PlaceIQ and IRI provide a combined view on what consumers are doing now, including impacts to their food buying and consumption. We’ll discuss how to measure and plan in a market facing new economic challenges.

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Meat and Poultry During the Pandemic

This webinar will provide a robust review of the total meat department performance, including an in-depth look at claims-based meat and regional differences, as well as a look at competition from frozen meat, meat alternatives and seafood.

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Continued Center Store Growth

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated some of the changes that were already taking place in CPG, from retail’s transformation to the adoption of online grocery shopping. But the impact that center store, in particular, is having during this time is creating ripple effects throughout the entire store and with consumers’ shopping behaviors and experiences.

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Podcasts on COVID-19 Topics

COVID-19’s Impact on CPG Retail Transformation

Stay-at-home directives and outright fear of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on CPG retail. Learn about the changes occurring in both how and where consumers shop. Guests include IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt, EVP and Practice Leader, and Kurian Thomas, Retail COO, North America.

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View previous COVID-19-related podcasts >>

Observations and Implications


Consumers are still focused on boosting their immunity and keeping their daily routines as stable as possible. Products that assist them in these efforts, such as OTC sleep products, vitamin C and vitamin D for those who still need to stay inside resonate with those who are still sheltering in place.


Center of Store
Center of store sales have exploded versus the prior year, as consumers look for meal inspiration from trusted brands and search for new solutions. Multi-serving products, indulgent treats and products with a health halo are all gainers.

Dairy products used in baking, such as butter, cheese, cream cheese, milk and sour cream, have seen large increases, as have ice cream and frozen novelties as consumers look for comfort.


More consumers are focused on wellness, which is key for fresh food, but affordability is critical, particularly in the current economic environment. Grocery has gained the most share in fresh, with specialty retail being the hardest hit since the virus began. Fresh is also seeing the highest growth year-over-year in e-commerce compared to the rest of the store.

Meat sales continue to skyrocket as consumers continue to cook at home. High-demand has led to short-term out-of-stocks, but is also the impetus consumers need to try new cuts of meat and even plant-based offerings. About 60% of meat’s year-over-year gain is due to increased spend per customer, and millennial households are driving the biggest increases in meat spending since the pandemic began.
Consumers are seeking products that bring comfort and joy, and those that have been increasing in sales include salty snacks, chocolate, ice cream and frozen novelties. Half of the American food dollar was spent outside the home pre-pandemic, so most of that has shifted to in-home, including snacking.


Household Cleaners
Cleaning supplies continue to be in high demand, with a focus on attributes that support disinfecting.

Nail care is a bright spot in dull color cosmetics sales. Grocery continues to garner greater beauty sales, given that shoppers prefer purchase as many items as possible in one trip.



Additional COVID-19 Resources


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