How Americans Are Shopping During COVID-19

Check in here for updated infographics and insights on the latest trends happening in the United States due to COVID-19.

Shifting Trends Among U.S. Shoppers

Overall, Total Store sales have grown through December but in the most recent week slowed to 5% vs year ago.

Center store

Frozen and Meat continue to take the top spot in category growth with Produce, Dairy and Grocery rounding out the top five.


For the first time since the start of COVID, Household Care growth slowed through December and declined slightly in the latest week.


Despite the holiday sales spike, Drug channel did not reach average penetration levels over the latest few weeks.

Department and category Dynamics

Above we highlighted one of this week’s departments. Below you can see how all departments are doing.

Rank of departments

*Source: Nielsen RMS xAOC, 4WE 9/30/20 vs YAGO

Change in department performance

Brick & Mortar, Nielsen RMS xAOC, WE 12/26/20 vs. YAGO
Online, Nielsen E-commerce, November 2020 vs November 2019

What’s driving Top Performance?

Take a look at category performance.

Top and bottom ranked Categories, U.S.

Top categories by state and channel

Distribution and promotion performance

The new normal: shoppers continue to buy at stores despite less variety in stores; this week shopper bought more on promo compared to last week.


*Source: Nielsen RMS xAOC, W/E 12/26/20


*Source: Nielsen RMS xAOC, W/E 12/26/20

E-commerce Spotlight

Speaking of channels, Shoppers are continuing to increase online orders, but spending less per item. Household Care growth accelerated to it highest level since May, while Alcohol Growth began to decelerate.

68% online growth since start

58% Increase in trips

18% More items in basket

-13% item value growth

*Source: Nielsen E-commerce, November 2020 vs November 2019

Pick up at store or delivered to your door?

The battle between click and collect and home delivery has heated up since stay-at-home orders have swept the United states. Today, this is how things are shaking out.

Shopper Behavior Dynamics

Channel also plays a role when it comes to how consumers are shopping. Purchase Frequency increased during the weeks leading to the Christmas holiday.

*Source: Nielsen Homescan Panel, W/E 12/19/20

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