Consumers Are Spending Less on Clothes and More on Food, Health Products

US consumers are shopping online more as they continue to avoid brick-and-mortar. According to a recent eMarketer study conducted by Bizrate Insights, health, food and beverage purchases made digitally are seeing an uptick. Apparel, not so much.

In April 2020, 52% of US digital buyers said they purchased clothing, shoes or accessories digitally, down 4 percentage points from February 2020. As consumers remain indoors, clothing is not an essential. Groceries, however, are. More than a third (36%) of respondents purchased food and beverages online in April 2020, up 9 percentage points from February 2020.

Online purchases of pharmaceutical and health products also increased 6 percentage points from February to April. And as people transition to distance learning and working from home, digital office equipment and supply purchases increased 4 percentage points in the same timeframe.

Amazon Prime members follow similar behavior. The eMarketer/Bizrate survey found that fewer US Amazon Prime members ages 18 to 65 are shopping for apparel, and more are buying food and health items.

According to a March 2020 Red Points survey conducted by OnePoll, roughly six in 10 US internet users purchased food/beverage and consumer packaged goods digitally during the coronavirus pandemic. Further down the list were apparel (46.1%), electronics (43.3%) and video games (29.5%).

This mirrors recent estimates from the US Census Bureau, which found that clothing and clothing accessory store sales fell 50.7%, another indication that consumers are limiting their spending on these products.