Even Though Habits Are Changing

Consumers Are Still Spending

Let us help you reach them. Top brands across every ecommerce vertical use SteelHouse to reach in-market shoppers on Connected TV, web, and mobile—join them today.

We’ve Tracked the COVID-19 Consumer Journey

It’s been over a month since life changed in the U.S. and the world at-large. The brick-and-mortar economy ground to a halt when shutdowns started—but not ecommerce.

In the weeks since, beginning March 13th, we’ve analyzed over one billion dollars per week in SteelHouse customer ecommerce sales to identify the consumer trends that emerged during the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve provided a week-over-week analysis of which verticals grew or declined, and how each week’s trends played into consumers’ journeys during the crisis. Here’s what we found.

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The Big Stories

COVID Hyper Consumers

At first everyone only bought essential items like groceries. After that, a new category of consumer emerged. These deal-seeking shoppers are fewer in number, but buying far more due to aggressive promos and deals—resulting in more purchases from a smaller group of consumers.

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The Big Stories

Every Day is Black Friday

Advertisers are pushing as many discounts as possible, and consumers are responding by buying more for less. Overall, purchases are up while average order value is down, resulting in growth rates in one week that can exceed the biggest shopping days of the year.

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The Big Stories

Week 1

The Hoarding Begins

Even before retailers got aggressive with discounts, purchases skyrocketed. Grocery stores and pharmacies across the nation were slammed and millions of consumers bought everything they could fit in their carts—or even more than that. The same story played out online and purchase growth exploded across any category the public considered essential.

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Week 1 Notable Verticals for Purchase and Consumer Growth

  • Purchases
  • Consumers

March 13 - March 19
Source: SteelHouse Data

Pharmacy

0%
0%

If you’re staying home to keep healthy, then you better have your meds. Pharmacy purchases nearly quadrupled.

Groceries

0%
0%

With all the chaos going down at brick-and-mortar grocery stores, consumer purchases surged for online orders.

Tobacco

0%
0%

Stay-at-home smokers loaded up on tobacco, resulting in flat consumer growth but a jump in total purchases.

Food & Beverage

0%
0%

A lot of shoppers decided to skip hoarding groceries and went with meal delivery services instead.

Pet Food & Supplies

0%
0%

If it came down to it, consumers figured pets could just eat people food. Pet food wasn’t as high a priority for many shoppers.

Wine & Spirits

Week 1 Growth Leaders

Week 1 Growth Leaders

Consumers found their favorite bar—the one at home—and bought an enormous amount of wine & spirits to help cope.

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Pet food and supplies

Week 1 Growth Leaders

Week 1 Growth Leaders

Shoppers went crazy hoarding for themselves, but pets didn’t get as much love. Pet food & supplies saw only modest growth.

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Week 1 Industries in Decline

The travel industry experienced a staggering decline. For every...

0 people traveling
the week prior to
the crisis

0 were traveling
by the end of
week 1.

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Week 1 Industries in Decline

Due to stay-at-home orders, people waited to schedule elective medical procedures, making it the hardest hit segment.

0% Week-over-week
decline

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The Big Stories

Week 2

All About Entertainment & Fitness

Fitness saw an unprecedented increase in sales in week two, with entertainment and consumer electronics not far behind. Consumers wanted to be entertained while stuck at home, making anything that made them feel good a priority. Thankfully, that included philanthropy for some, which led to a huge increase in charitable donations.

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Week 2 Notable Verticals for Purchase and Consumer Growth

  • Purchases
  • Consumers

March 20 - March 26
Source: SteelHouse Data

Fitness

0%
0%

Fitness purchases nearly tripled in a single week and made it the dominant segment.

Comics & Animation

0%
0%

If there was ever a time to catch up on your backlog of X-Men comics, it’s during stay-at-home orders.

Philanthropy

0%
0%

People were in need, and the public responded. Donations to charities increased significantly during the second week.

Music

0%
0%

When you find a new artist or band you like, you add their album to your collection. It turns out people in week two had plenty of time to do that.

Consumer Electronics & Technology

0%
0%

A small number of consumers were buying a lot more video games, TVs, and iPads—the first major sign of the “Every Day is Black Friday” trend.

Stay-at-home soundtrack

Week 2 Growth Leaders

Week 2 Growth Leaders

Not everyone just streams music for free. People created their stay-at-home soundtracks and music purchases surged.

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Digital devices

Week 2 Growth Leaders

Week 2 Growth Leaders

ESPN’s primary spectator sport is now video games, so it’s no surprise shoppers are buying more PlayStations and consumer electronics.

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Week 2 Industries in Decline

The travel industry continued its freefall toward zero.

0%

Purchasing
Decline

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Week 2 Industries in Decline

Pharmacy purchases skyrocketed in week one, then traced back toward normal purchasing behavior.

0% Purchasing
Decline

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The Big Stories

Week 3

Staying Fit and Buying Big

The only thing consumers are watching more than their favorite TV shows are fitness videos on the internet—and in week three that meant buying more home gym equipment. And after those gym sessions, they relaxed on the brand new couch they bought thanks to taking advantage of aggressive deals normally seen only on the biggest shopping days.

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Week 3 Notable Verticals for Purchase and Consumer Growth

  • Purchases
  • Consumers

March 27 - April 2
Source: SteelHouse Data

Fitness

0%
0%

Consumers kept building their home gyms, leading to another week of triple digit growth.

Furniture

0%
0%

Three weeks straight of sitting on a lumpy couch can incentivize anyone to upgrade. Furniture saw a near 100% increase.

Photography

0%
0%

Aspiring photographers (and seasoned pros) pounced on aggressive discounts to pick up expensive equipment at low prices.

Clothing

0%
0%

Clothing purchases lagged in the first couple weeks, but discounts in week three proved too good to pass up.

Restaurants & Delivery

0%
0%

Home cooked meals are great, but nothing beats ordering from a favorite restaurant. Millions of Americans ordered in during week three.

Casual clothing

Week 3 Growth Leaders

Week 3 Growth Leaders

Consumers took advantage of clothing deals to update to a more casual, home-friendly wardrobe.

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Delivery sushi

Week 3 Growth Leaders

Week 3 Growth Leaders

People either started running low on food, or got tired of cooking. Whatever the reason, restaurants and delivery benefited.

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Week 3 Industries in Decline

After a rough couple weeks, travel appeared to have found its bottom. Purchases were flat for week three.

5%

Change in
Purchases

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The Big Stories

Week 4

Adjusting to the New Normal

Consumers started to settle back into old habits. Purchases around hobbies, like photography and golf, shot up massively thanks to enticing deals. Consumer goods made a major comeback as well as shoppers returned to buying their basic needs and wants. Week four made it clear that the days of reactionary buying were over—for now.

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Week 4 Notable Verticals for Purchase and Consumer Growth

  • Purchases
  • Consumers

April 3 - April 9
Source: SteelHouse Data

TV Movies & Streaming

0%
0%

With the number of Connected TV viewers in the U.S., it’s no surprise the “new normal” means more streaming.

Gifts & Flowers

0%
0%

People found new ways to stay in touch with the ones they love, which meant an increase in gifting.

Consumer Goods

0%
0%

Shoppers bought more consumer goods in week four than any other week in the crisis—another signal that normalcy was returning.

Photography

0%
0%

The surge in photography purchases showed no sign of slowing down in week four.

Golf

0%
0%

Golf purchases were driven higher by only a small increase in shoppers—more evidence COVID Hyper Consumers were setting sites on their hobbies.

Stock market

Week 4 Growth Leaders

Week 4 Growth Leaders

The stock market rebounded and caught consumers’ attention for financial services, leading to triple digit growth.

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Golf

Week 4 Growth Leaders

Week 4 Growth Leaders

Golfing and social distancing go hand in hand, as do really great deals and a new set of clubs.

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Week 4 Industries in Decline

Pharmacies finally settled in back to normal purchasing patterns.

0%

Purchasing
Decline

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Week 4 Industries in Decline

Purchases were down, but average order value was up for online groceries—meaning people were buying in bulk.

0%

Purchasing
Decline

0%

Average Order
Value

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Even Though Habits Are Changing

Consumers Are Still Spending

Let us help you reach them. Top brands across every ecommerce vertical use SteelHouse to reach in-market shoppers on Connected TV, web, and mobile—join them today.