NPD: Retail ‘bright’ spots during COVID-19

Marianne Wilson
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Dollar sales declined 16% in the third week of March as hoarding slowed, but growth in a number of key industries helped stave off an even greater decline.

That’s according to The NPD Group’s weekly read on U.S. consumption trends, which revealed the bright spots that emerge amid the challenges retail is facing during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite steeper declines in overall general merchandise sales as the weeks progress, several categories within toys, consumer technology, small appliances, and office/janitorial supplies have found significant growth.

In toys, the growth was driven by games, puzzles, building sets and arts and crafts. Water filtration, kitchen appliances, air purifiers and heaters drove the growth in small appliances in office supplies, growth was driven by janitorial supplies (toilet paper and cleaning supplies), hand cleaners, and coloring and art supplies. Growth in technology was driven by computers and other work-from-home and telecommuting categories.

“In just a couple of weeks stores have shuttered, hoarding seems to have slowed, and the consumer is now focused on products to help make their homebound lifestyle more bearable,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group. “Both retail business and consumer behavior are shifting into a new reality.”