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 this report we explore IRI’s Consumer Survey of primary shoppers, collected July 31 through August 2, and how consumer shopping behavior and purchases will be impacted.


August 10, 2020 Report

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A new IRI report examines some of the key trends and emerging 2020 CPG Growth Leaders and contrast these to last year’s trends and 2019 CPG Growth Leaders.


August 7, 2020 Report

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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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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 Media Center of Excellence has an overview of current media buying and consumption trends, overall and category-specific recommendations and how IRI can help advertisers navigate new challenges.


April 3, 2020 Report

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Blogs on COVID-19 Topics

Past Recessions Meet Current Health Crisis to Shape New Market

In this guest blog from SPINS, we explore how three lessons from the Great Recession are relevant today, and how consumers’ focus on health will impact the market going forward.

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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

For CPG suppliers and retailers navigating the constant evolution of consumer shopping behaviors during this unprecedented pandemic, the importance of daily data cannot be overstated.

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Webinars on COVID-19 Topics

Capturing CPG and Retail Growth in 2020 and 2021 Amid a COVID-Altered World

IRI and RBC Capital Markets share the scenarios we are most likely to see through the latter half of 2020 and into 2021, and the expected consumer demand by channel, so that CPG brands and retailers can better plan and prepare for the changes that are still ahead.

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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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Videocasts on COVID-19 Topics

C-Suite Conversations: Brian Cornell, CEO of Target

There was no pandemic playbook at the outset of COVID-19, so Target Corp. wrote its own. Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell speaks with IRI Strategic Analytics President KK Davey.

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View previous COVID-19-related videodcasts >>

Podcasts on COVID-19 Topics

Sustainability in the CPG Industry

Did COVID-19 pantry stockpiling undo the good of doing good? Research conducted by NYU’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business and IRI finds that sustainably marketed products have grown share during the pandemic.

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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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