Hoarding Proves to be Limited — Increase in Bulk Buying Trends to Higher Income Households

Chicago, IL (April 2, 2020) – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has now launched a Stockpiling Index to better understand in-store bulk buying behaviors in the era of COVID-19. The Numerator Stockpiling Index tracks three levels of stockpiling behavior – pantry-fill, stock-up and “hoarding” also known as extended event prep (defined as 1.5x, 2.5x and 4x average shopping behavior) – by week. Stockpiling behaviors are indexed to average consumer buying behavior across the 100,000 person Numerator Omnipanel.

The Numerator Stockpiling Index will be published weekly to help brands, retailers, analysts and others with much-needed understanding of how in-store stockpiling behaviors are driving retail sales, as well as to start to anticipate the trailing impact on the second half of 2020. Understanding causal behaviors is key to retailers and brands determining strategy and action planning.

The Numerator Stockpiling Index includes the most detailed view on how stockpiling behaviors are changing weekly.

“Half of all Americans were doing some sort of stockpiling in early March but most of it was at a pantry-fill or stock-up level. Hoarding behavior was only in 2.9% of households,” said Eric Belcher, CEO, Numerator. “Numerator data shows that the increase in bulk buying is a behavior of economic privilege. While lower-income households typically include more stockpiling behaviors, the ability to increase it trends to wealthier households. The people who can afford to increase stockpiling behaviors are the ones who do. With stimulus checks weeks away, brands and retailers can be thinking of ways to help stretch the impact of those checks to help those who need it most.”

Highlights from this week’s Numerator Stockpiling Index include:

  • Pantry-fill behavior (1.5x) begins first, breaking from the norm after the first travel restrictions and first inflection point at January 31.
  • Stock-up behavior (2.5x) breaks from the norm second, after the CDC announcements in late February.
  • Hoarding behavior (4x) starts to spike in early March, peaking with the third inflection point on March 11.
  • Overall, hoarding remains a relatively small part of consumer behavior, peaking at 2.9% of households. Hoarding behavior, however, drives 9% of spend. Note: the Numerator Shopping Behavior Index shows that the spike in total households actively shopping drives product shortages in February, more than hoarding.
  • All three stockpiling behaviors retract in the week ending March 16 as shelter-in-place restrictions are put into place.

The data science behind the Numerator Stockpiling Index allows for more detailed analysis through this same lens which enables more detailed slices, for example:

  • Regional skews mirror the progression of COVID-19 with New England and Mountain areas spiking first, following the outbreaks in Washington state and the northeast.
  • Stockpiling behaviors also trend along economic lines. Numerator is recognizing lower-income households, which lack the financial resources to increase stockpiling behavior for family needs in advance, now under index versus average behavior.

The Stockpiling Index is in addition to the Shopping Behavior Index and Early Read Index which provide a comprehensive and fast view of retail sales across multiple retail channels and are available at www.numerator.com. All three have launched to provide a fast, detailed, complete view of the market to help understand COVID-19 impact and planning.

About Numerator

Numerator is a data and tech company serving the market research space. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has 1,600 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry that has been slow to change. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.

View this release on PR Newswire.


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