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New IRI CPG Index Tracks Consumer Product Demand During Pandemic

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IRI, a provider of innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, has released the IRI CPG Demand Index, a proprietary metric measuring weekly changes in consumer purchases, by dollar sales, against the year-ago period across departments, categories and retail formats. Leveraging the full power of IRI’s data assets, including daily sales data reported from 12 major chains’ daily point-of-sale and e-commerce transactions nationwide, as well as a fully automated forecasting solution, the IRI CPG Demand Index is poised to be the industry’s standard metric for tracking changes in consumer spending on CPG amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed consumer behavior and spending, creating significant challenges for CPG companies seeking to appropriately allocate their resources and effectively meet consumer demand,” said Dr. Krishnakumar (KK) S. Davey, president of strategic analytics for IRI. “The IRI CPG Demand Index helps CPG retailers and manufacturers get a quick read on CPG demand and benchmark their performance against the market. Access to an up-to-date, accurate and standardized demand measure is more critical now than ever before, as historical trends provide limited guidance to current demand during these unprecedented times. The landmark IRI CPG Demand Index is powered by a daily stream of verified point-of-sale and e-commerce data, enabling companies across the CPG ecosystem to contextualize changes in demand and leverage that information to develop actionable insights and enhance supply chain effectiveness.”

The IRI CPG Demand Index is available on IRI’s website and updated daily with the latest figures representing weekly dollar sales demand for CPG product departments, categories and formats. Measured channels represented in the Index include convenience and multi-outlets (food, drug, mass, club, dollar and military), including click-and-collect orders for all brick-and-mortar stores, as well as delivery services like Instacart. The IRI CPG Demand Index also includes insights into changes in weekly dollar sales by U.S. state and region as well as changes in basket size (the number of items the shopper purchases) and trip frequency (how often the shopper makes a purchase in a store or for online orders picked up at the store), with projections updated on weekly basis.

Notable insights revealed by the CPG Demand Index in recent weeks include:

  • Overall demand during the week ended April 12 has leveled from the mid-March panic shopping peak and remains up 13 percent compared to the prior year period.
  • Frozen food continues to show the highest demand levels and is up 31 percent compared to the prior year period.
  • Alcohol demand in measured channels continues at elevated levels, up 27 percent for the week ended April 12 compared to the prior year period, as consumers are unable to go to bars and restaurants.
  • Total store non-edibles are down slightly from the prior year period as consumers work to use stockpiles they accumulated in mid-March.
  • The grocery channel remains the destination winner for food, up 33 percent, and non-edibles, up 16 percent, although the latter is down slightly from week-ago demand.
  • Total trips are down 4 percent and have slowed dramatically from their peak in mid-March. Even with consumption up, edible trips remain on par compared to a year ago; non-edible trips are down 3 percent as consumers work through their stockpile of goods.
  • Against fewer trips are larger baskets when consumers do shop. The size of total store baskets is up 22 percent, with edible basket items up 27 percent even after the panic shopping of mid-March.

The IRI CPG Demand Index also incorporates IRI’s approach to demand forecasting that leverages store-level daily point-of-sale data, fully automated forecasting capabilities at scale. Incorporating forecasting and simulation capabilities from some of the most sophisticated machine learning algorithms, the IRI Demand Forecasting solution is designed to select proven, state-of-the-art models from tens of thousands of options. The IRI Demand Forecasting solution minimizes the need for human discretion and extended cycle times, helping marketing, finance and sales teams at CPG clients to quickly identify opportunities to drive sales growth.


Additional real-time insights and analysis

“Our CPG and retail clients are essential businesses serving critical needs in communities across the globe, and we are proud to be helping them navigate the monumental changes in their industries and the rapidly evolving demand landscape,” said John McIndoe, EVP and chief marketing officer for IRI. “The IRI CPG Demand Index will add another dimension to our ability to support our clients with data and forward-looking analysis to help manage out-of-stocks, enhance supply chain efficiency and more accurately forecast demand. In addition, we are regularly publishing research and insights to our new COVID-19 Info Portal that provides granular, real-time information and analysis for an even deeper understanding of the unprecedented current environment.”

IRI has launched a pair of continuously updated resources for CPG manufacturers and retailers, available on the IRI website. These resources include the latest rapid-response research, data and insights on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global CPG consumer behavior, shopper demands and supply chain challenges:

IRI COVID-19 Info Portal: This online hub houses resources including COVID-19 impact analyses, dashboards and the latest thought leadership from IRI. IRI reports provide an overview of developments across key global markets and guidance for CPG manufacturers and retailers to support consumers during the crisis.

COVID-19 Data Dashboard: IRI’s propriety model — refreshed in real time and daily — covering category trends, out-of-stock levels and consumer sentiment around coronavirus topics on social media.

IRI’s latest research report, “The Changing Shape of the CPG Demand Curve,” was published on April 24. New research conducted by IRI and in collaboration with its partners, including Boston Consulting Group (BCG), is also published on a regular basis and available immediately for download on the IRI COVID-19 Info Portal.

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