Market Share: COVID-19 Sparks A Comeback For Some Products


There are many brands, products and services that Millennials love—and love to buy. A generation that’s all about choice, they love entertainment streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. They’re fans of build-your-own food bowls, from grain, salad and burrito bowls to breakfast, poke and acai bowls, according to social media intelligence company Linkfluence. But there is a list of goods that haven't made the cut for this cohort and their lifestyle—like American cheese, napkins and cereal, says Ad Age. For a group with a reputation for being health-conscious, American cheese is too processed for their liking. Millennials are an eco-friendly bunch, so napkins aren’t a favorite—and cereal? Well, because they tend to be fast-moving and on-the-go, portable options, like smoothies, are preferred—that is, until the coronavirus pandemic hit, causing a change in pace for many, and a revival of these products’ popularity.

Transitions in lifestyle have brought Millennials back into their homes for mealtimes. To make the occasion more festive, many of them are purchasing standard and decorative paper napkins, causing an upsurge in paper napkin sales, says Ad Age. Market research firm Nielsen reported that napkin sales rose more than 43 percent in late-February, March and April, compared with last year. The stay-at-home mandates also led to a rise in cereal—Millennials are enjoying bowl after bowl while also purchasing it for their children. Nielsen reported that sales rose 35 percent in the third week of April compared to the year-ago period, and from late February through late April, sales rose 34 percent. Ad Age attributes some of the spike in individually-wrapped American cheese slices, like Kraft Singles and Velveeta, to the kickoff of barbecue season in New England, but Nielsen reported that between March and mid-May, American cheese sales rose 47 percent—which Ad Age says suggests more consumers are cooking up comfort foods, like grilled cheese and mac and cheese.

In addition to these products, COVID-19 has also renewed Millennials’ connection with two American summertime staples: beer and golf. Prior to coronavirus, beer had fallen to the wayside as Millennials opted for hard cider and spiked seltzer, but with more of this cohort ordering alcohol to be delivered to their homes—and ordering in bulk to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store—1010data, a data recovery and sharing solutions company, reported that March and April online beer sales rose more than 100 percent compared to last year. And golf, which is less popular with this cohort than with older generations, is now on the rise as more are turning to the no-contact sport for entertainment and socializing. Market research firm NPD Group reported that in March, sales of golf practice nets and screens rose 144 percent, and swinging and putting maps increased 138 percent, compared with the year-ago period.

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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