Date published

Retail Pulse: Categories hardest hit by COVID-19

By Lee Barwin, Head of Marketing, Retail Solutions at Trax

Trax’s real-time shelf data collection provides a unique opportunity to understand how panic shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak is reflected on the shelf.

To help keep track of shelf health and on-shelf availability (OSA), we measured in-store merchandising conditions across 10 product categories in over 300 stores in the US. Trax processed 25,000 images of shelves to understand retail reality from a shopper’s perspective.

Shelf reality in the US (Mar 30 to Apr 6, 2020)

Category insights:

  • Not surprisingly, toilet papers were the hardest to find anywhere. This product category was out of shelf in 80% of stores surveyed. In another 12% of stores, 75% of the shelf space reserved for toilet paper shelf was empty.
  • Baby wipes and disinfectants were also scarce resources, as these shelves were half-full at best.
  • It looks like the American cat is going to be just fine – stocks of cat food were full in nearly 75% of the stores surveyed.
  • Soups and pasta, very much in demand during these times, were reasonably well-stocked and widely available.

In these unprecedented times, in-store automation is critical to measuring on-shelf availability and out of stocks. Every day, Trax collects real-time SKU level shelf data for retailers across the world using shelf edge cameras and robots powered by proprietary Computer Vision technology.

Read our next blog to find out how shelf conditions and space utilization varied across various states and retailers in the US.

We’re working hard to put together tools, data, educational webinars and more to help you build operational flexibility and rigor while preparing for growth in a new normal. Access these resources now.