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Apr 6, 2020

Covid-19 Barometer: Basket for quarantine

Quarantine: Portuguese prepare basket

  • Consumption slows down in the week in which the State of Emergency is declared in Portugal
  • Portuguese adopt more economical and rational consumption
  • Long-term products register the greatest growth
  • Concern about animal welfare promotes sales of Animal Products

At the third edition of the Nielsen weekly Barometer on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumption, we witnessed the declaration of the State of Emergency and the closure of schools, which led to families remaining at home and a consequent slowdown in sales. The growth this week 12 (16 to 22 March 2020) compared to the same period last year is 7%, a considerable deceleration compared to the previous week (+ 65%).

Portugal was not the only case of this slowdown, with this trend being a visible trend in other countries, namely in Spain.


In Portugal, this period begins with the dramatic information of the first death by Covid-19, in a period that is also marked by the imposition of restrictions on movement - through the control of land borders and air connections - and by the closure of commercial establishments considered not to essential.

Thus, Portugal enters the fourth of the six stages identified by Nielsen - # 4 Preparation for Quarantine.

Long-lasting products are quarantine response

In food, on week 12, it is the long-term products that register the greatest growth, with an emphasis on Canned Food (+ 79%) and Basic Products (+ 68%). Lisbon and Setúbal stand out with very high growth in these categories, with values ​​of + 89% and + 74% for Canned Food and + 75% and + 65% for Basic Products, respectively.


In the week that the Portuguese prepare to live in quarantine, we also see an increased concern with pets. Animal Products (food and accessories) grew 15% over the same period last year.

Paper Products remain at the top of the Personal Hygiene and Household ranking, with more notable growth for Toilet Paper (+ 75%), followed by Handkerchiefs, Rolls and Napkins and Cleaning Accessories.

Among Personal and Home Care products, the biggest losses are registered in segments that clearly demonstrate the fact that the Portuguese are now at home: Makeup (-54%), Perfumes (-53%), Footwear Products ( -47%), Air Fresheners (-38%), Skin Creams (-33%) and Beard Products (-22%).

Few districts grow below average

This week 12, sales growth compared to the same period last year was felt in most of the national territory, with the exception of some districts.

It is in Coimbra (+ 2%), Viseu (+ 3%), Lisbon (+ 3%), Viana do Castelo (+ 4%) and Faro (+ 6%) that there are increases below the average growth in value of 7% reported in this period.


A rational but also emotional shopping basket

The shopping basket of Portuguese consumers acquired survival patterns, reinforced for everything that could happen in this situation. But this is an evolving basket, which started with some first symptoms and was quickly being adapted to all the changes we are experiencing.

With the declaration of the State of Emergency in Portugal, imposing restricted exits to the street, the consumption of the Portuguese became more economical and rational. As explained by Marta Teotónio Pereira, Senior Client Consultant at Nielsen, this is a reality “that could also be impacted by the evolution of the financial conditions of the Portuguese. After this phase has passed, in which the Portuguese prepared their life for quarantine, it is natural that they now seek to make life at home more bearable. Therefore, there will be some less essential products that may show growth, such as some categories of drinks. Even some beauty products may also have a more prominent place at home, at this stage when we cannot go out (ex: visits to the hairdresser). The evolution of the composition of the quarantine basket therefore has an experiential and an emotional part and there is an opportunity here for manufacturers and retailers to achieve incremental sales. ”

In this context, consumers are looking for solutions that make it easier to stay at home, which is why the number of online shopping occasions has grown by
34% in week 12 versus the same period, with + 41% of households electing this
channel (Source: Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel Rawdata). We continue to follow these trends until the crisis stops and we return to (new) normality ”, explains the head of Nielsen.


About Nielsen:

 Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global data measurement and analysis company that provides the most complete and reliable insight into consumers and markets worldwide. Nielsen is divided into two business units. Nielsen Global Media, the truth indicator about media markets, provides the media and advertising sectors with unbiased and reliable metrics that create a shared understanding of the sector required for markets to function. Nielsen Global Connect provides consumer goods brands and retailers with accurate and practical information and insights and a complete view of the complex and changing market that companies need to innovate and grow.

Our approach combines original data from Nielsen and other sources of information to help customers globally understand what is happening in the present, what is going to happen in the future and how to act on this knowledge.

A S&P 500 company, Nielsen is present in more than 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world population. For additional information, visit https://www.nielsen.com/pt/pt/.


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