Life with restrictions
- Consumption falls in the week that the Portuguese start living with restrictions
- E-Commerce registers growth in purchase occasions and household attraction
- Home-cooked meals boost food sales
- Portuguese seek to improve their quality of life at home
In the week in which Portugal officially enters the mitigation phase of Covid-19 (community transmission of the virus) and at a time when the Portuguese are beginning to live with restrictions, we are seeing a decrease in sales. The fourth edition of Nielsen's Weekly Barometer on the impact of the pandemic records sales of around 206 million euros for week 13 (March 23-29, 2020), a drop of 6% compared to the same period last year (12.5 million euros less) and 12% compared to the previous week.
In contrast to this decline, e-Commerce continues to record gains in terms of purchase occasions (+77%) and household attraction (+75%). Driven by the current context, consumers seem to be more receptive to the ease and convenience of making their purchases via digital platforms.
The period under review includes a jump in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection in Portugal. Portugal thus enters the fifth six stages identified by Nielsen - #5 Life with restrictions.
Food products grow as people stay at home
In week 13, Food Products grew, contrary to the general decline in food retail. Fresh produce showed a decrease, but this was lower than the average for the market as a whole.
Life with restrictions
"The fact that the Portuguese are now confined to their homes changes some of their daily habits and routines. In the case of food, many meals are now prepared and eaten at home. Eating breakfast and snacks at home and making snacks and desserts has led to strong dynamism in some categories, which are now at the top of the growth charts, such as Hot Drinks (+38%) and Desserts/Sweets (+30%)," explains Marta Teotónio Pereira, Senior Client Consultant at Nielsen.
The Portuguese seem to be more inclined to cook at home, something that is also evident in the fact that food retail lost more than 70% in Take-Away/Cafeteria in this period compared to the same week last year.
Among fresh produce, despite decreases in some categories, there are segments that show the opposite trend and that stand out for their strong growth due to two factors: defending the immune system and cooking more at home.
There is also continued concern about hygiene, health and home cleaning, with significant growth in Cleaning Accessories (+44%), Home Cleaning (+20%), Health Care (+9%), among other categories.
In this context, the categories with the biggest falls reflect the fact that the Portuguese are staying at home, including Sun Products (-85%), Footwear Products (-52%) and Perfumes (-51%).
"The evolution of the FMCG categories leaves no doubt that the Portuguese are staying at home and 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 over the next few weeks which, as well as continuing to reflect life in quarantine, will give indications of the Easter trend in 2020.
With schools closed, the Easter vacations are spent at home. In food retail, the growth in sales in the week before Easter (this year it's week 14) already reflects the preparations for the festivities which, in Portugal, involve a lot of the extended family gathering around the table.
With the tightening of traffic restrictions over the Easter period, we all know that this year has been different. With some minus signs - fewer family gatherings, fewer trips out of the city centers and fewer offers - but also with some plus signs - more Easter tables and more meals at home," comments Marta Teotónio Pereira.
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