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MIDA poll reveals 85% of Puerto Rico consumers spent more during lockdown

A study by the Chamber of Marketing, Industry and Food Distribution (MIDA, in Spanish) confirmed what was a broadly felt perception among consumers: they spent more on their purchases during the three-month lockdown in Puerto Rico.

The results of the “Behind the mask…a Consumer X-Ray 2020” study show that 85% of consumers who participated in the survey confirmed they spent more on food or provisions after the quarantine started.

The polling was conducted June 9-15 among men and women 18-and-older, which resulted in a 51% participation rate for a sample of 1,272 people, the trade group said. Of that group of respondents, 89% were women between 35 and 64 years-old.

It measured the trends from March through May — coinciding with the strictest stretch of the government-imposed curfew to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The study shows that households spent $854 at grocery stores, or .55¢ per dollar. Consumer traffic was also brisk at drugstores — many of which remained open seven days a week — reflecting a 48% jump in spending to $167.

“The presence of the different channels didn’t change significantly, with the exception of club-type stores, which lost about 6% of the market,” said Freddie Hernández, chairman of the Consumer X-Ray study committee. “Small supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies showed growth.”

The most sought-after items during the three-month period were: hand sanitizer (1,113%); multivitamins (236%); cleaning wipes (229%); cake mixes (143%); and repellents (90%).

“Nobody would have expected such a large increase in demand for disinfectants, and unfortunately there were times when supplies ran out,” Hernández said.

During the three-month period, consumers showed a preference for grocery stores (99%), followed by discount stores (72%).

The study showed that nearly half — or 48% of those surveyed — confirmed that their income dropped during the quarantine, and only 5% confirmed an increase. Of those who experienced a growth in income, 22% used the money to buy food, 19% used it to pay down debt and buy personal hygiene items, and 16% said they would save money.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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