Expandable categories: predicting future purchases

Last week we looked at how stockpiling was evolving. This week, we go on to explore if consumption matches up, to identify each category’s expandability.

An expandable category: When an increased purchase rate is coupled with increased consumption, minimising any surplus.

The most expandable categories are typically more impulsive and treat-led

Why? Consumers search for alternatives to their usual (now disallowed) occasions, such as a glass of wine in the evening to replace a pub visit. Or, perhaps they’re just bored at home and a sweet treat has tempted them…

Purchase prediction Penetration will remain steady and possibly even grow due to negative surpluses in some categories and continued lockdown restrictions

The least expandable categories tend to have a long storage life

Why? ‘I want to be prepared for any situation’ (52%) and ‘I’m worried I’ll need to self-isolate’ (48%) are the main reasons given for stockpiling. These categories carry a long-term guarantee if venturing out for fresh items is no longer an option. Hence, consumers over-purchase but don’t over-consume in order to keep these items for emergencies – made possible by them being less treat-led and tempting.

Purchase prediction Penetration will fall in the coming weeks due to surplus building in store cupboards. However, uncertainty remains high and shop frequency low so some nervous consumers will continue purchasing unusual amounts whenever possible.

Chilled dairy is an anomaly with a short shelf life but a low expandability rank

Why? Milk – many consumers see this as an essential, so will buy it when possible.

Purchase prediction A short-shelf life means that surplus stock will go to waste (despite some consumers freezing items). Consumers will be forced to re-purchase and we will continue to see high penetration.


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