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Study: Canadian consumers adapt to COVID-19: A look at Canadian grocery sales up to April 11

Released: 2020-05-11

Canadians continue to adapt to a new normal as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape their daily lives. Life at home has taken on a new meaning, with many stores and service providers closed or operating with reduced hours; classrooms moved online; a newly defined workforce made up of essential workers and those able to work from home; and millions of Canadians experiencing lost hours of work or layoffs as a result of the pandemic. The way Canadians are making purchases at grocery stores can provide some insight into the way they are sustaining themselves and their families, and spending their time at home.

The study, "Canadian Consumers Adapt to COVID-19: A Look at Canadian Grocery Sales up to April 11," highlights recent trends in consumer demand and sales using transaction data for grocery products.

April sales continue upward trend after exceptional March surge

Whether Canadians were simply re-stocking depleted pantries, preparing to shop less frequently to reduce their exposure to COVID-19, or truly panic buying, grocery store sales surged in March 2020.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: 52-week change in weekly sales for select grocery retailers
52-week change in weekly sales for select grocery retailers

By the week ending March 21, nearly all provinces and territories had declared states of emergency due to COVID-19, and trans-border restrictions and international travel bans were in effect. Canadian consumers continued to react and prepare in response to reduced access to businesses, goods and services, and increasing restrictions on their movement. Retail grocery sales during the week ending March 21 rose 40% compared with the same week a year earlier.

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: 52-week change in weekly sales for select health and personal care items
52-week change in weekly sales for select health and personal care items

Following the March spike, grocery store receipts continued to rise on an historical basis over the next three weeks, with sales rising 19% year over year in the week ending April 11.

Products

The analytical article "Canadian Consumers Adapt to COVID-19: A Look at Canadian Grocery Sales up to April 11" is now available in the Prices Analytical Series (Catalogue number62F0014M)

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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