The majority of people cooking and cleaning more at home since the Covid-19 outbreak say the activities have improved their overall well-being, and this newfound contentment could translate into big revenues for CPG manufacturers for years to come.
Surveying 1,600 U.S. adults in early May, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 69% of those who’ve dedicated more time to cooking during the pandemic believe the shift in behavior has added to their quality of life.
Samrat Sharma, U.S. CPG lead at PwC, thinks that while it’s difficult to make predictions given the nature of the crisis, he expects grocery stores sales to remain elevated for the foreseeable future.
“Some of these things are fundamentally changing people’s habits,” said Sharma. “As they get satisfaction and a chance to engage with their families and loved ones, through this they will continue to find new ways to indulge in those kinds of behaviors, whether it be cooking or getting involved in yardwork.”
Additional data from the survey shows 79% of all consumers have enjoyed cooking at home on occasion in the past month.
Since the White House declared the novel coronavirus a national emergency in early March, major CPG companies from the Campbell Soup Company to Hormel Foods have seen sales surge, as consumers loaded their pantries with shelf-stable foods. Restaurant closures have also limited the number of options people have to eat. Recent figures from the NPD Group show that though business is returning, total U.S. restaurant chain transactions were down 12% for the week ending June 14 versus the same time last year.
Cleaning products, such as disinfecting wipes and sprays, have also been in such high demand that manufacturers have struggled to keep them on store shelves. The Clorox Company’s cleaning segment, for example, saw a 32% year-over-year sales increase throughout the opening quarter of 2020, with much of that boost coming in March. In that three-month period, Clorox produced 40 million more disinfecting products compared to the same time last year, representing a 40% increase.
PwC’s research indicates this trend could also last longer than the pandemic, but not necessarily due to consumer concern. The consulting firm found that 59% of people who’ve increased time spent on household chores since the Covid-19 outbreak say the activity has improved their quality of life.
Sharma noted that even when a vaccine is discovered, an increased level of consciousness around activities such as hand-washing might mean people “continue to maintain a higher level of personal hygiene.”
In April, Procter & Gamble’s COO and CFO Jon Moeller stated he didn’t anticipate increased demand for the company’s cleaning products to decline anytime soon, noting that people were running the dishwasher and doing more loads of laundry each week.
“We will serve what will likely become a forever-altered health, hygiene and cleaning focus for consumers who use our products daily or multiple times each day,” Moeller said about P&G’s future during an earnings call with analysts.
Colgate-Palmolive has also seen a spike in sales for hand and dishwashing soap during the pandemic, but it doesn’t expect these changes in consumer behavior to be permanent.
“Will they stay at the current levels forever? Absolutely not,” said Noel Wallace, CEO of Colgate-Palmolive, during a conference call hosted by Deutsche Bank earlier this month.
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