While much broader and wide-sweeping in nature, the news cycle about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the first quarter of this year sparked global purchase shifts that were clearly tied to what was being reported in the news. Sales of hand sanitizers, food staples, and cleaning products skyrocketed in step with news conferences and reports related to the spreading virus. But over time, the correlation has faded, and consumers have, in many cases, stopped responding to the news cycle with their wallets.
That hasn’t meant, however, that consumers have pulled back on purchasing fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Their purchasing just no longer mirrors media reports about increasing rates of virus transmission. Even in countries that have experienced fresh or ever-growing outbreaks of the virus, such as the U.S., Brazil and Russia, FMCG purchases remain relatively steady. And in some instances, increased FMCG purchasing has correlated with momentary factors beyond the virus itself, such as local business re-openings and changes in restricted living conditions.