During the first three months of the government-imposed quarantine due to the COVID-19 emergency, 85% of consumers invested more monthly in their purchases of food and supplies, while online purchases increased five times the percentage that they reflected in 2018.
This is indicated by the study called "Behind the mask", a special edition of the Consumer Radiography 2020 that is published annually by the Chamber of Marketing, Industry and Food Distribution (MIDA) .
“The pandemic considerably altered consumer purchasing expenses. Proof of this is that 85% of the participants declare that their average monthly expenditure increased. The average reflected a 50% higher expense than that concluded by the 2019 Consumer Radiography, "said Keissa Acevedo, a member of the committee that promotes the survey that seeks to know the buying and spending habits of Puerto Rican consumers, in a virtual presentation. after the quarantine and the curfew were decreed on the island on March 15, 2020, particularly between March, April and May. 1,272 people from all over the island participated in the study and 89% were women. 45% of respondents were between the ages of 45-64, it was specified.
In the first three months of the emergency, consumers preferred to go to the supermarket to shop, followed by department stores and pharmacies. Ironically, the discount clubs dropped 6% penetration with 48%.
The frequency of visits to points of sale also had its impact as six out of 10 people said that he or some member of his family nucleus attended biweekly or monthly to make food purchases, while the 2019 study showed that these visits were several times a week.
As for the products in greatest demand, compared to the same months (March , April and May) of the previous year were hand sanitizers (1,113%), multivitamins (236%), wet towels (229%), cake mix flour (143%), repellents (90%), products of bathroom cleaning (87%), bleaches (70%), frozen pizza (70%), frozen potatoes (66%) and canned meat (58%).
Meanwhile, the products that lowered their sales were tanning creams (-54%), cosmetics (-48%), chewing gums (-36%), deodorants (-25%) and shaving creams ( -18%).
A curious fact is that 7% of consumers reported a growth of people in the home since quarantine. Of these, 48% reported having an additional person. But 4% reported that the increase was up to more than five individuals in their family nucleus.
Regarding income, 48% of the respondents said that their income decreased by 48% during the emergency; 47% had no changes; and 5% reflected an increase in their finances.
32% of consumers said they lost their job as a result of COVID-19; and of these, 63% had not received the unemployment benefit. Meanwhile, 10% said they had received Family Card benefits for the first time since the emergency began. This group used these funds to buy mostly meats, fruits and vegetables (72%).
Nine out of 10 participants gave an A rating to the establishment where they made their food purchases, while 94% consider it extremely important implement effective hygiene processes in their businesses.
On the other hand, online or Internet shopping have shown a history of significant increase since, while in 2018 only 6% reported using these services, this time 30 % claimed to have accessed one of these platforms. While online food purchases also increased from 33% in 2019 to 43% in 2020. In fact, this led to new companies joining this service, as in one year they increased from six to 17.  Among the establishments where food or online stores were purchased the most are EconoToGo (38%, SuperMax Online (36%), Amazon (31%), SelectosEasyShop (14%) and Produce (8%).
86% of consumers said that they spent the same or more than when they make their purchases in person.