How consumer trends have changed amid the coronavirus pandemic

Consumer trends have changed dramatically due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

More people in the U.S. are flocking to grocery stores to stock up on supplies, turning to at-home fitness as gyms shut their doors and stockpiling survival items like water to weather the uncertainty, according to new data from Yelp.

When it comes to dining trends, pizzerias, fast food restaurants and grocery stores are stealing market share in a big way. Over just the past week, U.S. consumer interest spiked 44% for pizzerias, 64% for fast food restaurants and 160% for grocery stores, Yelp found.

“Consumers are responding to fears of infection, social distancing recommendations, and mandated business closures by getting their food from grocery stores or directly from farmers, not from higher-end restaurants,” Yelp Data Science Editor Carl Bialik wrote in the Yelp Local Economy Coronavirus Impact Report. “When people do turn to restaurants, it’s overwhelmingly for delivery or takeout, not for dine-in options that until just a week ago were prevalent.”

To analyze the consumer interest trends, Yelp took a look at how consumers were interacting with Yelp’s platform such as viewing business pages or posting reviews. Five hundred of the biggest U.S. categories were studied, and Yelp then selected 50 of the biggest gainers and 50 of the biggest decliners. The trends were analyzed between March 8 and March 18.

At-home fitness is currently all the rage as people attempt to keep up with their health amid the pandemic. According to Yelp, interest in home fitness equipment surged 344% and attendance in outdoor parks spiked 53%. Survival is also of utmost importance to people in the U.S. with interest in purchasing water soared 166% and firearms rose a whopping 360% in the week ended March 18.

Actual purchases of water skyrocketed 42% for the one-week period ending March 7, according to data firm Nielsen. The top three grocery purchases for that time time period were oat milk, dried beans and rice, which saw sales increase 347%, 62% and 57% respectively.

Illustration by David Foster

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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