Putting on or taking off the COVID-19?

The majority of consumers have seen their weight change during the pandemic, driving new purchases across product categories

In an unscientific study of our Instagram and Facebook feeds, we found our social graphs bucketing into one of two general camps: the filter-laden sweaty pic-posters “eating the hills” during daily 10-mile runs with kettlebells in tow, and video streaming couch mavens breathlessly extolling the virtues Ted Lasso and a foreign language series that required two QR codes to access. We decided to make our findings a bit more scientific and asked consumers in a recent BOXpoll survey how their weight has changed since the start of the pandemic. (Gauche, we know.)

Astonishingly, more than half of consumers saw their weight change in the past few months, with 38% reporting they have gained weight and 25% saying they lost weight. Another 35% said their weight hasn’t changed since the start of the pandemic (making us wonder if they are really weighing themselves).

Putting in and taking off the COVID19 (pounds) percentages, chart

These life changes are having a big impact on consumers’ purchase intent, falling into three categories:

  • The Weight-Change Deniers who are holding out from buying new clothes because they don’t want to accept that their weight has changed:  25%.
  • The Magical Thinkers, who are hoping to receive clothes (or money to buy clothes) as a gift this holiday because their weight has changed: 24%.
  • The Annoyingly Rational Type-As who bear no emotional scars and have come up with a three-point action plan:
    • 32% are splurging on a healthier diet (nutritional supplements, food subscriptions, etc.)
    • 27% are buying more on cooking supplies (utensils, cookware; etc.) to justify cooking food at home.
    • 21% are spending more on fitness supplies (activewear; athletic footwear, exercise/sports supplies/equipment, etc.)

Maybe most critically for apparel brands, 24% of consumers plan to buy new clothes before the end of the year because they've gained or lost weight

  • Interestingly, consumers who gained and lost weight plan to spend about the same on clothes: 
    • Those who have gained weight plan to spend $154 on clothes before the end of the year.
    • Those who have lost weight plan to spend $155 on clothes before the end of the year.

BOXpoll™ by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture, and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult //2094 US consumers surveyed November 2020.© Copyright 2020 Pitney Bowes Inc.

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