Ottawa – April 23, 2020 – Newly released data from the federal government shows that consumer trends in Canada’s food retail sector are changing rapidly due to COVID-19, with grocery sales increasing dramatically and sanitation product purchases skyrocketing as well.
According to Statistics Canada, a slowdown of normal business operations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, new restrictions on the activities of citizens, and requirements to practice physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic have combined to transform consumer purchasing patterns at the grocery store.
Grocery sales increase by 38 percent
With Canadians stocking up on food items and practicing physical distancing indefinitely, grocery sales have increased by 38 percent compared to their average sales in 2019. This represents 16 percent higher revenues than those reported in the week leading up to the December holiday, the busiest shopping week of the year. And for the week ending March 14, grocery sales were up a whopping 46 percent compared to the same week in 2019.
Sales of personal care, household cleaning products surge
The COVID-19 crisis has also caused a surge in sales of personal care and household cleaning products, with hand sanitizer and mask and glove sales increasing 639 percent and 377 percent, respectively, in the week ending March 14 compared to the 2019 average. During that same period, sales of personal wipes rose by more than 200 percent, while paper towel, soap, and household cleaner sales increased by over 150 percent.
Dry goods and shelf-stable foods outsell fresh and frozen foods
When it comes to food items, sales of dry goods and shelf-stable foods have surpassed those of fresh and frozen foods, with rice and pasta sales rising by more than 200 percent in the week ending March 14 relative to the 2019 average. Canned vegetables, flour, canned fish, meat and seafood, pasta sauce, and canned soup sales increased by over 150 percent during the same period. Infant formula and canned fruit sales trailed these products slightly, but still rose by more than 100 percent in the week ending March 14 versus the 2019 average.
Fresh and frozen food sales see major increases
In terms of fresh and frozen foods, frozen vegetables and fruit sales increased by over 100 percent in the week ending March 14 compared to the 2019 average. Sales of frozen potatoes and fresh eggs, meanwhile, rose by more than 60 percent during the same period. The full breakdown of food retail trends throughout COVID-19 can be found here.
Source: “Canadian Consumers Prepare for COVID-19.” Statistics Canada. April 8, 2020. Accessed Online. https://bit.ly/2KmJPKX.