Week 4 of the Covid-19 pandemic (w.e 28th/29th March) put the big 5 Western European countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) in the same living condition of lockdown. The main result is that the total fmcg sales have fallen by 16% compared to 2019. Overall there has been an increase in purchase of frozen foods, ambient foods and BWS categories in the first weeks of lockdown (first half of March).
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However we can still see a different purchasing behavior across the countries. In Italy, the purchase of both frozen food and ambient grocery reached its peak in the second week of lockdown (14th March), followed by a decrease in the ensuing weeks. Although fresh food seemed to suffer a slight decrease in the first weeks of lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic, during the last week of March, it increased, outdoing ambient grocery performance.
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France, UK and Germany saw a similar trend, with a peak for the purchase of frozen food and ambient grocery around 21st of March and a continuous decrease of the purchase of fresh foods.
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On the other hand Spain registered a different trend, reaching a very high peak (around 90%) of the purchase of both frozen and ambient food, during the week of 14th of March; in this period also the purchase of fresh food reached its peak. However, the purchase of the 3 categories suffered a severe fall during the next week ( 21st of March), followed by a slight increase in the last week of March.
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In closing, it is possible to highlight the differences in shopping culture across different countries are now influencing the purchasing trends. However, as long as shoppers are forced to stay at home, the total fmcg sales are expected to experience a continuous growth in all countries.