March 7, 2021

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Consumers’ monthly expenses rise to $ 500 due to pandemic

Emergency after emergency, from earthquakes, hurricanes, fiscal crisis, to global pandemic, Puerto Rican consumer buying habits have been affected and the study Consumer X-ray 2020, a resilient consumer it reflects this.

The analysis, which for 28 years has been carried out by the Chamber of Marketing, Industry and Food Distribution (MIDA), reveals that respondents reported an increase of $ 500 in their monthly expenses, which is equivalent to an increase of 18% compared to last year .

Tatiana Irizarry, Sales Leader Caribbean, Nielsen Retail Intelligence, reported that 56% of those surveyed work in private companies, government or on their own; 34% are retired or unemployed; while the remaining 10% is distributed among students, housewives and others.

“In terms of the socioeconomic level, 16% are at a high level, 54% are at a medium level and 30% are at a low socioeconomic level. Along these lines, 46% of those surveyed claimed to depend on the income from the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN) for the purchase of food, 3% of those surveyed became new users of PAN during the pandemic, ”added Irizarry.


These data on the PAN, as indicated, are similar to those provided by the Department of the Family, “which show that as of September 27 the program had 836,990 families with 1,505,093 participants throughout the island.”

For its part, the Census estimated the population on the island for 2020 around 3.4 million, which coincides with the fact that 46% of the population receives these aid.

Meanwhile, the average monthly expense reported an increase, reaching $ 500 per month, an increase of 18% versus what was reported last year. This result is consistent with sales figures for categories, according to Nielsen’s syndicated Scantrack study.

“Spending seems to be driven by an increase in the frequency of visits to supermarkets, which registered an average of 8 visits per month versus 6 last year, an increase of 33%. Likewise, monthly visits to convenience stores and pharmacies increased by a factor of 3 (from 1.4 to 4.3) and 6 (from 1 to 6.8), respectively “, it was informed.

These data can be explained by considering the significant injection of funds from PAN (which ended in September). To which is added the closure of other types of shops, as well as the limitations imposed on hotels, bars and restaurants, causing an increase in purchases and visits to supermarkets.

On the other hand, the report showed that the adult population continues to grow and their dependence on their families continues to increase. 52% of the respondents are 45 years or older and one in two of them make grocery shopping for their parents or in-laws.

“This finding is important to industry strategies and presents a huge challenge for our public policy makers,” said MIDA.

Among the positive news, it stands out that 95% of those surveyed claim that they will increase or continue to buy food produced locally. This represents an opportunity for the local industry caused by the shortage and limitation of supply from abroad during the pandemic..

“Consumer Radiography allows us to observe the key indicators in consumer habits. We continue to provide our partners with relevant information that allows them to anticipate changes in behavior for the development of future strategies, ”said Manuel Reyes Alfonso, MIDA’s executive vice president, for his part.

Other relevant data:

  • Despite the limitations imposed by the government, 3 out of 4 (77%) respondents claimed to have bought prepared food in the last month. Of those, 27% claim to have bought food prepared in the delis from supermarkets.
  • The COVID emergency accelerated the adoption of the use of the Internet to buy food; 24% of those surveyed claimed to have used a digital platform to buy food; a 60% increase vs 2019.
  • Email is the main form of communication on the part of the store that the consumer favors, followed by social networks.
  • Half of consumers follow an “influencer”, of these 40% are highly influenced in their purchase decision by celebrity endorsements. The boom in Internet shopping has created a dynamic where the comments or the points that the products receive from consumers play an important role when selecting a product, one in two consumers consider it very important.
  • Discount coupons continue to be used by 42% of those surveyed, who claim that they will definitely continue to use them. Consumers have the greatest interest in receiving discount coupons on cleaning products, hair care and for the purchase of protein.

How was the study done?

Consumer Radiography 2020 is based on a quantitative study of 1,360 interviews conducted during June and August 2020 in 8 economic regions of the island, according to the president of the entity, Dr. Ferdysac Márquez.

“Ensuring the safety of interviewees and interviewers, we turned to digital media to conduct the surveys, thus maximizing the capabilities of Nielsen, the research firm conducting the study this year. As part of the methodology, 75% of the ‘online’ interviews were used and 25% through the CATI tool (telephone interviews). The combination of both tools makes it possible to meet a wide range of demographic profiles. We complemented the study with a qualitative phase of 10 virtual interviews ”, he explained.

To receive the complete details of the 2020 Consumer Radiography study, you can participate in the three virtual sessions on October 15, 22 and 29 from 9:00 a.m.

For more information about tickets and participation you can call 787-792-7575, or visit


They celebrate four decades

As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, MIDA announced that during this month of October it will present a collection publication that reflects its historical contribution in these four decades, as well as the 28th edition of its study, Consumer Radiography.

“The 40-year-old issue, which will have over 130 pages, will take the reader on a journey through history where we will be able to understand the reasons for the founding of MIDA, see photos and meet the key characters in that long history, see the changes of image and logo, the different meetings with the government, contributions to the country, the various MIDA conventions and even the evolution of the Consumer Radiography study ”, indicated the entity’s president, Dr. Márquez.

On this occasion, the Consumer Radiography 2020 is a 100% digital study with three sessions focused on three topics: sessions on income and expenses, purchasing habits and marketing strategies.

“This format allows the audience to receive in-depth data and the opportunity to interact, in a virtual way, with the panel of experts. The Puerto Rican consumer continues to evolve in the face of the constant changes in the social and economic environment on the island, resolutely adapting to prevail regardless of the challenges ”, indicated MIDA.

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