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Apr 17, 2020

Nielsen Covid-19 Barometer: Portuguese people adapt to life with restrictions

Life with restrictions

  •  Consumption decreases in the week when the Portuguese start to live with restrictions
  • E-Commerce registers growth in occasions of buying and attracting homes
  • Meals made at home boost sales of food products
  • Portuguese seek to improve their quality of life at home

In the week when Portugal officially enters the mitigation phase of Covid-19 (community transmission of the virus) and at the moment when the Portuguese begin to live with restrictions, we saw a decrease in sales. The fourth edition of the Nielsen weekly barometer on the impact of the pandemic records sales for the week 13 (23 to 29 March 2020) of around 206 million euros, a 6% drop compared to the same period last year , 12,5 million euros) and 12% compared to the previous week.




In contrast to this decrease, e-Commerce continues to record gains in terms of purchase occasions (+ 77%) and household acquisition (+ 75%). Driven by the current context, consumers seem more receptive to the ease and convenience of making their purchases through digital platforms.

The period under analysis includes a jump in the number of confirmed cases of infection by Covid-19 in the national territory. Portugal thus enters the fifth of the six steps identified by Nielsen - # 5 Life with restrictions.

Food products grow permanently at home

This week 13, Food Products are growing, contrary to the widespread breakdown in food retail. Frescos show a decrease, but this is below the average of the total market.


Life with restrictions

“The fact that the Portuguese are now confined to their homes alters some of their daily habits and routines. In the case of Food, many of the meals started to be made and consumed at home. Having breakfast and snacks at home and making snacks and desserts has led to a strong dynamism in some categories, which now appear at the top of the biggest growths, such as Hot Drinks (+ 38%) and Desserts / Sweets (+30 %) ”, Explains Marta Teotónio Pereira, Senior Client Consultant at Nielsen.

The Portuguese seem more likely to cook at home, something which is also evident in the fact that the food retailer lost more than 70% in Take-Away / Cafeteria in this period compared to the same week last year.

Among the Frescos, despite the decreases in some categories, there are segments that show a contrary trend and that stand out for the strong growth due to two factors: defending the immune system and cooking more at home.


The concern with hygiene, health and cleaning of the home is also maintained, with significant growth in Cleaning Accessories (+ 44%), Home Cleaning (+ 20%), Health Care (+ 9%), among others. other categories.

In this context, the categories with the greatest losses reflect well that the Portuguese remain at home, among which the Solar Products (-85%), Footwear Products (-52%) and Perfumes (-51%) stand out.

“The evolution of the FMCG categories leaves no doubt that the Portuguese remain at home and that they are adapting to life in quarantine, already looking for products that make them feel better at home. It will be interesting to follow the trend of the coming weeks, which, in addition to continuing to reflect quarantined life, will give indications about the Easter trend in 2020.

With schools closed, Easter holidays are spent at home. In food retail, the growth in sales from the week before Easter (this year is the 14th week) already reflects the preparations for the festivities that, in Portugal, pass a lot through the extended family reunion around the table.

With the worsening of the limitation to circulation during the Easter period, this year we all know it was different. With some signs of minus - less family gatherings, fewer trips from urban centers and less offers - but also with some more signs - more Easter tables and more meals at home ”, comments Marta Teotónio Pereira.


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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