The COVID-19 crisis has created major dislocations across the consumer product landscape, straining companies’ ability to safely source, manufacture, and distribute their products to consumers. These stresses come as demand across most product categories has spiked and purchasing behavior has accelerated online.

Largely driven by stock availability in the wake of shelter-in-place orders, social distancing, and the closure of nonessential businesses, many companies in this industry have a significantly different set of consumers today than they did prior to the current crisis. Those companies that have been able to maintain service levels across the available channels despite the myriad of disruptions are seeing the largest uptick in new consumers.

In order to understand how enduring these changes to consumer behavior are likely to be, AlixPartners conducted a survey of 1,006 representative US households from March 27 to 31. We looked at 15 consumer product categories including perishable proteins, food staples, nonalcoholic beverages, household goods, personal care products, and cosmetics.


of US consumers have tried a new brand or private label in at least one consumer product category since the coronavirus outbreak

Three key findings were evident from this consumer survey:

  1. Approximately 2 in 3 consumers have tried new products over the last month, with lack of availability driving 80% of that trial. More than 1 in 4 consumers who tried new products plan to stick with them post-crisis.
  2. Should we enter a recession, changes to consumer behavior will likely be sustained.
  3. The COVID-19 crisis will accelerate adoption of online grocery—both click and collect and home delivery—across age demographics.