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Coronavirus pandemic driving sales of appliances for health

31 March 2020

Now that consumers have stocked up on toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and other household necessities, they’re turning their attention to appliances that aid in cooking and health and wellness, experts and retailers say.

Small appliance sales grew 8% for the week ending March 14, according to data from the NPD Group, with items like water filtration devices seeing a triple-digit jump in demand. Sales of hand-held cleaning devices more than doubled, and air purifying machines nearly doubled year-over-year.

With more people in the kitchen instead of eating out, small kitchen appliances are hot items as well. Bread makers and electric skillets have seen a triple-digit jump, according to NPD. And sandwich makers, electric pasta makers, citrus juicers and rice cookers have all seen sales grow. NPD thinks having kids at home more has reintroduced carbohydrates consumption at a greater level as well.

Restaurant transactions slumped 36% for the week ending March 30, NPD says. Quick-service restaurants, which includes McDonald’s Corp. and Wendy’s Co. saw business drop 34% for the week ending March 22.

NPD says on-premise dining accounts for 52% of industry dollars while take-out, delivery and drive-thru represent 48%. Digital orders accounted for 13% of all off-premise restaurant industry dollars for the year ending Feb. 2020.

And Coresight Research data found that nearly two-thirds of those polled (64.5%) said they were avoiding restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Target Corp. Chief Executive Brian Cornell said during a media call last week that the retailer is seeing a shift in spending toward small appliances as more people prepare meals at home.

The Consumer Staples Select Sector is down 2.2% over the past year. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector is down 12.2%. And the S&P 500 index has fallen 8% for the period.


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