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Coronavirus scare: Panic buying triggers 10 per cent growth in food segment

according to market research firm Nielsen. The food sector saw a growth of 10 per cent mainly due to panic buying, while non-food sector growth stood at 5 per cent during the same period. 

Published: 28th March 2020 10:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th March 2020 10:21 AM   |  A+A-

Retail inflation, shopping

For representational purpose only.

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India’s FMCG market grew 8 per cent in February 2020 against the 5-6 per cent growth that the sector saw in the preceding three months as consumers began stocking up essentials amid the coronavirus scare that has gripped the entire country, according to market research firm Nielsen. The food sector saw a growth of 10 per cent mainly due to panic buying, while non-food sector growth stood at 5 per cent during the same period. 

On the e-commerce trade, orders for packaged food such as biscuits and snacks, cooking oil, hand sanitisers, face mask, hand wash and toilet cleaners have gone through the roof during the mid-February to mid-March period, while branded pulses and atta have been in high demand in the traditional channel. 
“In 11 states, we have witnessed more than 40 per cent growth, compared to a year ago.

It is important for manufacturers to understand the new buying behaviour of consumers in this difficult time. We have seen stockpiling behaviour in the last few days and it is natural that there will be a supply chain constraint. Local authorities are working on streamlining availability of products,” said Sameer Shukla, West Market Leader, Nielsen Global Connect, South Asia.

The hand sanitiser category witnessed a robust 53 per cent sales growth in February, compared to 11 per cent growth collectively during the November-January 2019-2020 period. Online order growth for sanitisers alone skyrocketed 1,425 per cent growth, followed by face masks at 408 per cent and hand wash at 86 per cent. 

Within the food category, e-commerce saw 106 per cent growth in orders of cooking oil, followed by 21 per cent in cooking medium (spices, salt, ghee, etc) and 16 per cent in packaged atta category from February to mid-March 2020. In the snacking and processed food space, orders for salty snacks went up by 84 per cent, soft drinks and biscuits went up by 68 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.

On the other hand, branded pulses grew 72 per cent YoY during mid-Feb to mid-March across traditional trade, while packaged atta saw 25 per cent YoY jump in sales (in value terms). Value sales of sanitisers were up 144 per cent compared to 72 per cent a year ago. These numbers are based on data from 18,000 retail stores.



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