Unilever CEO Predicts ‘Lasting Changes’ To Shopping Habits Dueot Covid-19 Pandemic

According to one of the biggest manufacturers of grocery brands of the world, “lasting changes” in shopping behavior will be triggered by the time the novel coronavirus pandemic come to an end.

The growth of online food shopping will be accelerated worldwide because of the health crisis, said Unilever’s chief executive, Alan Jope. And the pandemic has also increased cleaning habits and made it very important households which meant that there will be a permanent increase in demand for soap and other cleaning supplies, Jope also predicted.

“I think we will be able to look back and see this as a point of inflection for online grocery shopping,” he said. “Good luck getting an appointment for a grocery delivery. I think that will persist and we will adjust our approach to reflect that.”

Jope added that there will be a trend of greater concern for surface hygiene in homes and hence people would want to wash their hands more times in the coming months.

“The whole hygiene thing will carry on,” he said.

The past three months for Unilever, the owner and manufacturer of more than 400 brands, has been a period of seesawing levels of demand, and these predictions were made by the company while updating investors about the company affairs. The lockdown in many countries of the world imposed in an effort to prevent the spread of the coeonavirus pandemic made consumers to spend less on products such as Cornetto and Magnum ice-cream, that are mainly dependent on their sale in the cafe and restaurant trade, even though consumers also stockpiled there kitchen cupboards with jars of the group’s Hellman’s mayonnaise, Pot Noodles and Cif surface spray because of the lockdown.

Demand for grooming products such as shampoo and deodorant, had also reduced because of the shift in trends of people to work from home. Demand for razors was hit because people were shaving a bit less since they were now at home, Jope conceded.

In the first quarter of 2020, sale of €12.4bn as reported by Unilever which was similar to what it had mopped up in the year ago period but was short of expectations of the markets. The financial guidance that the Anglo-Dutch group had made earlier was withdrawn by it, just as many of its competitors had done as the company tried to pass through a period that Jope described as a “human crisis”.

There was more than a 10 per cent jump in demand for its cleaning and hygiene products such as Cif and Domestos bleach, the company said, during the first quarter which helped to record an overall rise of 2.4 per cent in sale of its homecare segment products. The food sales of the company however dropped primarily because of demand and sale of ice cream that dropped by 1.7 per cent during the quarter after cancellation of orders from traditional tourist hotspots because of uncertainty in tourism outlook due to the pandemic.,

(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)

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