IRI Measuring Consumer Purchase Shifts on a Weekly Level

Lisa Johnston
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Big data and predictive analytics provider IRI has released a new metric measuring weekly changes in consumer purchases to account for the rapidly shifting behavior stemming from the spread of COVID-19.

The IRI CPG Demand Index is a proprietary metric that measures weekly changes in consumer purchases, by dollar sales, against the year-ago period across departments, categories and retail formats. It leverages daily sales data reported from 12 major chains’ point-of-sale and e-commerce transactions nationwide, acting as an automated forecasting solution.

The index, which is available on IRI’s website and updated daily, is designed to help consumer goods retailers and manufacturers quickly understand product demand and benchmark their performance against the market.

Channels include convenience and multi-outlets (food, drug, mass, club, dollar and military), including click-and-collect orders for all brick-and-mortar stores and such delivery services as Instacart.

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It also includes insights into changes in weekly dollar sales by U.S. state and region, as well as changes in basket size and trip frequency. Projections are updated on weekly basis.

John McIndoe, IRI executive VP and chief marketing officer, said the index can help manage out-of-stocks, enhance supply chain efficiency and more accurately forecast demand. The company is also publishing research in its new COVID-19 Info Portal that provides real-time info and analysis.

IRI also shared a few data points from the index:

  • Overall demand during the week ended April 12 has leveled from the mid-March panic shopping peak but remains up 13% vs.  the prior year period.
  • Frozen food is up 31% vs. the prior year and represents the highest demand levels.
  • Alcohol demand is up 27% for the week ended April 12 compared to the prior year period.
  • Total store non-edibles are down slightly from the prior year period as consumers use stockpiles accumulated in mid-March.
  • The grocery channel remains the destination winner for food, up 33%, and non-edibles, up 16%, although the latter is down slightly from week-ago demand.
  • Total trips are down 4% and have slowed dramatically from their peak in mid-March. Edible trips are on par compared to a year ago, and non-edible trips are down 3% as consumers work through their stockpile of goods, said IRI.
  • The size of total store baskets is up 22%, with edible basket items up 27% even after the panic shopping of mid-March.

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