October 22, 2021

Fastest-Growing & Declining Categories in Grocery List Building

As 2021 wears on, consumers are beginning to return to some pre-pandemic habits. One of the most obvious places that this manifests itself is at the grocery store. A comparison of grocery list data from Q3 2020 to Q3 2021 reveals the fastest growing and declining categories year-over-year and points to the activities consumers are engaging in as a part of their daily lives.

COVID-19 tests saw a whopping 750% increase in the volume of list adds by shoppers from July to September of 2021 vs. 2020. While Americans may have had to go to a doctor’s office or a rapid testing facility to get a test during the same period in 2020, this reflects the wide availability of at-home options and their current status as a grocery list staple.

Additionally, it appears people really were traveling again as shoppers were much more likely to purchase travel-related items in Q3. Items with large increases in year-over-year popularity included travel size shave, shampoo, and hairspray items.

Top & Bottom 20 Categories Q3

Keto items saw a jump as consumers turned back to personal wellness in the wake of the pandemic, with keto crackers and buns coming in at #2 and #11 in the fastest-growing list items year-over-year.

With greater ability to travel and entertain themselves, shoppers added significantly fewer baking items to their grocery lists. Powdered sugar and brown sugar dropped 71% apiece.

Shoppers also added medicine-adjacent items less frequently; flu shots, thermometer covers, hand soap, face shields, and disinfectant were all down year-over-year.

Finally, it appears that shoppers are either less enthused about fall entertaining, or holding off on their shopping until later than usual. Pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, spice cake mix, candy corn, halloween candy, fall decorations, pumpkin spice creamer, and halloween decorations were all down significantly year-over-year.

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