Stocking Up

It sure looks like people are stocking up due to the Coronavirus situation. It certainly shows in the data that our panel members have been sending us.

Overall, according to Nielsen, for the two weeks ended March 21, 2020, total sales of U.S. consumer packaged goods – which are UPC barcoded products our panel members scan – have  increased $8.5 billion from the prior two weeks. Just to put that in perspective, that’s 15 times the average rate of change for a typical two-week period!

In addition, our shopping behavior has changed in just a short period of time, as people are shopping more online to avoid crowds and the potential of getting infected. According to Nielsen, in the two weeks ended March 21, upwards of 35% more people had shopped online for CPG items compared with a typical week. And that will continue to grow over the next few weeks.

Scan All Your Purchases!
As we’ve said previously, it is important that panel members continue to record all their purchases, especially anything bought online. In these tough times, manufacturers and retailers really want to know what their customers are buying.

So, what exactly are we buying more of these days? Well, things you might expect. Take a look at these sales figures from Nielsen. The following chart shows the percentage that U.S. dollar sales increased for the comparable weeks in 2019 and 2020.

Products Week ending March 14 Week ending March 21
Aerosol disinfectants +518.9% +264.1%
Hand sanitizer +207.5%    +192.8%
Cold and flu remedies +158.8% +192.2%
Multipurpose cleaners +242.9%    +182%
Antiseptic products +196.4% +172.9%
Paper towels +154.4% +127.4%
Toilet paper +212.7% +123.5%
Total beans +133.5% +237.2%
Soup +126.6% +237.1%
Rice +166.1% +234.1%
Pasta +136.3% +227.8%
Canned meat +187.8% +282%
Canned seafood +139.4% +233.4%
Eggs +44% +85.7%
Water +99.4% +78.5%
Cat litter +37% +60.3%
Dog food +37.5% +54.7%
Cat food +38.7% +52.8%

Let us know how you’re doing or what you’ve been stocking up on by leaving a comment.

Note: If you’re not able to shop for the time being,NCP isproviding all our panel members with a specially coded UPC barcode (see link below). During weeks when you are unable to make any purchases, you can scan the barcode to let us know.

Not only will this save you the time of reaching out to our Panel Support Center, but it’ll keep your panel membership active and you’ll continue to be eligible for our NCP sweepstakes.

Click here to view/download the barcode along with additional instructions.

As always, please be safe and keep your distance!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Observations

Another week at home. As you probably know, all NCP staff members have been working from home for the past few weeks. Which certainly has made things more challenging, but it seems like things are running fairly smoothly, considering all that’s happening.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, and it’s hard not to, you’ve probably heard that New York has had the highest incidence of Coronavirus infections. Everything is pretty much locked down, except for essential services, such as grocery stores, drug stores, etc. Restaurants are open, but only for pick up orders – no dining inside!

I just want to state that DESPITE the Coronavirus, I’ve personally witnessed many acts of resilience that is keeping me humbled and inspired.

My in person yoga classes have been cancelled, but the instructor is providing a video link so that we can all take part. It’s not the same as being in a class, but it’s still nice getting together “virtually.”

My son’s karate classes have also been canceled, but the instructor is providing videos so that all the students can continue to train and learn.

My drugstore placed tape on the floor, six feet apart, so shoppers would know to keep their distance.

And restaurants in my area are doing a brisk take-out and delivery business.

I’m sure you’ve also seen innovative ways people and businesses are dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Let us know what you’ve experienced by leaving a comment.

Now I do not want to minimize the severity of this virus and the impact it has had on the country. So many people are either sick or out of work, and it’s probably only going to get worse.

Like so many other businesses, NCP needs to continue to operate. So please understand why you might be receiving communications from us asking you to continue recording your purchases. We understand that many people are suffering through this situation, but we do need to keep moving forward as a business. At this time, manufacturers and retailers really need to know what their customers are buying – or not buying.

So, as we’ve stated previously, please continue to record all of your purchases, especially if you are just shopping online. Also, if people are buying things on your behalf and bringing them to you, please record those purchases, too.

However, if you expect any major changes in your shopping habits, please contact the Panel Support Center via email at support@ncponline.com and let them know.

Please be safe and keep your distance!

Best Regards,
Taylor

(Try To) Keep Calm And Carry On: The New COVID-19 Normal

We’ve all been impacted by the Coronavirus in one way or another. From work, school, and event closing, to the “adventure” of going grocery shopping, to thorough and frequent hand washing.

And the more I hear about not touching my face, the more I realize that I do it constantly!

As you may know, the entire NCP staff is working remotely. And as you can imagine, this is an adjustment for all of us, and we’re trying to figure this out as we go along. So there might be a few glitches along the way. We hope that you understand that we, like everyone else, are doing our best.

But this should not impact how we support our members – we’re still available to you on the phone, through email, and via social media. Thank goodness for the Internet!

Keeping Calm …
Now don’t get me started on grocery shopping! I’m sure you may have had the same experience as I had:  Long lines and plenty of empty shelves. But we need to keep calm; for instance, I just saw a video of some people actually fighting over rolls of toilet paper.

C’mon, people, we need to fight this virus together! Try to do what you can for other people. (I know it’s a small gesture, but I was able to pick up some groceries for an older neighbor who didn’t want to go out.)

How are you dealing with the impact of COVID-19? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Continue To Record Your Shopping Trips
We understand that things are different for the time being, and certainly your shopping habits may be impacted. You may be buying large amounts of specific items or just stocking up.

Please continue to record all of your purchases, especially if you are just shopping online. Also, if people are buying things on your behalf and bringing them to you, please record those purchases, too.

At this time, retailers and manufacturers really need to know what our panel members are buying.

However, if you expect any major changes in your shopping habits, please contact the Panel Support Center via email at support@ncponline.com and let them know.

Working From Home Tips
For those working from home, I found some helpful tips from Psychology Today – at least they’ve been helpful to me so far this week!

Tip 1: Maintain a Routine. We are all creatures of habit, so mimic your previous routine as closely as possible. For instance, if you usually wake up for work at 6 a.m., then continue doing so (OK, maybe sleep in until 6:30 … ). If you get dressed for work, then you should still do that. (You don’t have to put on a dress or a suit, but get out of your PJs!)

For those that have kids, keeping the same routine is critical for your children; otherwise, they will perceive time at home as if it were time off and not be motivated to learn. This will make it harder for you to help them stay on track in finishing their school work.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Extra Time To Work. One of the biggest mistakes people do when they work from home is to work more. Many do it because they feel guilty that they are working remotely and don’t want their boss or co-workers to think they are slacking off.

So create time boundaries and use that extra time to do something else. If you commute to work, chances are you take that time to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, or something else. That shouldn’t stop.

Tip 3: Use Video Chat. For many, in-person contact is important because we are able to read social cues when talking with someone. When we work from home, our in-person contact with co-workers disappears; as such, it becomes important to see the people you talk to. Video chatting will help you feel connected.

Tip 4: Take breaks. Being in the office lends itself to chit chat with co-workers. You can’t do that at home, but it’s still important to take breaks every now and then. So add scheduled breaks to your calendar, so that you get your eyes off the computer for a few minutes.

Tip 5: Move around. When you take a break, you should try and walk around, even if you just do a few laps around your bedroom or kitchen. Find places in your home where you can move around throughout the day even if it means simply taking a call from your phone somewhere other than your work area.

Thank you, and we hope you keep calm and safe!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Golden Ten Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes Results

The Golden Ten Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes has ended. We hope you had a good time trying to find the ten Golden images!

Just a little background about the contest: We hid ten images (gold-colored balloons of the numbers 1 through 10) in past blog posts and asked you to list the exact title of the blog posting in which the image was located.

We received tons of correct entries; out of those, we then randomly selected 10 winners.

So let’s hear it for the 10 Golden Ten Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes winners who will each receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card claim code. Congratulations to all!

Winners: Please check your email over the next few days for your e-gift card.

  • Carol K. / bcjj20 …
  • Clara G. / liltheod …
  • Craig A. / cave…
  • Diane P. / popp …
  • Janette F. / janettef …
  • Kevin P. / kpelt …
  • Laura H. / laura…
  • Loretta R. / simplys …
  • Meresa B. / meresa …
  • Vincent D. / slim3 …

Note: For privacy, we only used their first names and the first initial of their last name, as well as the first few letters of their email addresses.

Here are the blog postings where the gold-colored balloons of the numbers 1 through 10 were located:


1

Keeping Cyber Secure (Posted on October 11, 2019)

2

The Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors by State (Posted on July 26, 2019)

3

Grab ‘N Go ‘N Scan! (Posted on September 13, 2019)

4

Resolve To Be The Best Panel Member Ever! (Posted on January 10, 2020)

5

Do You Know About “In The Know”? (Posted on February 21, 2020)

6

How ‘Bout A S’more! (Posted on August 9, 2019)

7

Got A Question? Go To The Video (Posted on June 7, 2019)

8

Going Online Shopping? (Posted on December 6, 2019)

9

Refrigerator Clean Up Time (Posted on November 15, 2019)

10

Ten Years Gone (Posted on January 24, 2020)

Thank you for participating. And again, please stay safe!

Best Regards,
Taylor

A Few Things To Note

NCP In The Know – Jumpin’ Java: Your coffee purchases
Our latest In The Know is available now! This edition looks at panel members’ coffee purchases by state– both store bought as well as “on the go.”

According to our panel members, households in New Hampshire buy the most pre-packaged, store-bought coffee.

Meanwhile, households in Washington, DC purchase the most on-the-go coffee. (I can understand why people in Washington need a LOT of coffee.)

Where does your state rank in both of these categories? Check out the full results at www.ncponline.com/wbcnt/intheknow

Golden Ten Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes
Our latest scavenger hunt has ended! Did you find all Golden Ten images? We’ll reveal the “answers” as well as the names of the ten winners early next week. Stay tuned!

Coronavirus Update
Everyone is talking about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As you know, schools, sporting events, concerts, and many other public-gathering occasions have been cancelled, due to the fear of the disease spreading even further.

We hope everyone makes sure to stay safe and follow the recommended guidelines for avoiding spreading the disease.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Coronavirus webpage at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

We wish you all a very safe and healthy weekend.

Best Regards,
Taylor

Time For Another NCP Blog Scavenger Hunt!

This one is called the Golden Ten Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes. (It all has to do with NCP’s 10th anniversary!)

As we’ve done in the past, we’ve hidden images in past blog posts for you to find.

It’s up to you to go through all of our blog postings from June 2019 to the present and look for the 10 images (graphics) of gold-colored balloons of the numbers 1 through 10 – It’s fun and easy!

IMPORTANT
When you find any of the images listed, make a note of the blog post title where you found the image. After you have found all of the images, go to the link below and follow the instructions. 

Go here to post your responses: 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCPBlog_GoldenTen

Here are some other important details:

  • To be eligible, you must provide the exact title of the blog posting in which the image was located. (You may find it easier to copy and paste the exact title into the response field.) You do not need to include the date of the posting.
  • From all of the correct entries, ten (10) winners will then be selected in a random drawing. Each winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card claim code! (Please make sure to give us your contact information.)
  • The contest ends on Thursday, March 12.

Please check out the rules.

I wish you all the best of luck! And, most of all, have fun!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Be On The Lookout For Our Next Scavenger Hunt

It’s almost time for another fun-filled NCP Blog scavenger hunt!

Beginning March 2, in honor of NCP’s 10th anniversary, we’ll be conducting the first of several contests where 10 people can win $10 gift cards.

This initial contest is our “world-renowned” scavenger hunt! As we’ve done in the past, we’ll hide special images (graphics) in past blog posts for you to find.

Then, you’ll need to go through the blog postings from June 2019 until the present and look for these images.

And I betcha know the images are somehow going to relate to the number 10!

Check back next week for all the details.

In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Best Regards,
Taylor

Do You Know About “In The Know”?

We all love being in the know, right?

Well, NCP recently launched a new way of sharing information that our panel members have provided to us. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s called NCP’s In The Know.

This week, In The Know looks at Valentine’s Day-related stats. We show your Valentine’s Day Instant Poll results as well as NCP panel member data on chocolate and floral sales. Check it out at http://www.ncponline.com/wbcnt/intheknow/

If you have ideas for other topics, let us know by going to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCPInTheKnow

Have a great weekend! And be on the lookout next week for our first contest where 10 people can each win a $10 gift card.

Best Regards,
Taylor

Happy Valentine’s Day From NCP

It’s Valentine’s Day, one of my very favorite holidays! (I am a hopeless romantic, after all.)

How do you celebrate? As soon as my husband and I get home from work, we exchange gifts and then go out to dinner (gee, I hope he remembered to make dinner reservations! Or was it my turn this year?).

As you know, Valentine’s Day is also a big event for manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants, with billions of dollars being spent by consumers.

What about you, how much do you expect to spend on Valentine’s Day?

Take Our Instant Poll (at ncponline.com)

Speaking of spending money, here are some fascinating Valentine’s Day facts from Wallethub.com and the National Retail Federation:

  • $27.4 billion: Total Valentine’s Day spending (for partners, family members, friends, co-workers, and pets) projected for 2020 (up 32% from 2019)
  • $196.31: Average amount Valentine’s Day participants will spend in 2020 (an increase of 21% compared with last year’s previous record of $161.96)
  • $101: Average per-couple cost of a Valentine’s dinner out
  • $291 vs. $106: Men will spend nearly three times as much as women, on average, for Valentine’s Day 2020.
  • $10.5 billion: Amount Americans will spend on jewelry ($5.8B), flowers ($2.3B) and candy ($2.4B).
  • Shoppers plan to spend …
    • $5.8 billion on jewelry (given by 21%)
    • $4.3 billion on an evening out (34%)
    • $2.9 billion on clothing (20%)
    • $2.4 billion on candy (52%)
    • $2.3 billion on flowers (37%)
    • $2 billion on gift cards (19%)
    • $1.3 billion on greeting cards (43%)
  • 30% of annual flower sales happen around Valentine’s Day
  • 1,261+: Types of Valentine’s Day greeting cards are being offered by Hallmark in 2020
  • $12.21: Average amount spent by Americans on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets
  • Least-desired gifts:
    • 24%: Tools
    • 24%: Gym membership
    • 19%: Sporting equipment
    • 16%: Kitchen appliances
    • 15%: Cheesy stuffed animal
    • 13%: Mixtape (I have to admit to giving my husband a mixtape, but it was a loonnnggg time ago!)
  • 45% of adults do NOT plant to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year

I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day, even if you’re not celebrating.

And please remember if you buy your loved ones flowers, candy, or clothing, to record these purchases, even if they don’t have a barcode. If you have a scanner, use the Barcode Reference Booklet. If you use the NCPMobile App, use the onboard Non-Barcoded Items Listing.

Hope you have a lovely day!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Super Bowl Sunday

Well, it’s almost time for the Super Bowl! Who do you think will win? Do you even care who wins?? I know many just like to munch on wings and chips, and watch the commercials and/or the halftime show. (What do you like to do on Super Bowl Sunday? Tell us about it by leaving a comment!)

As you know, the Super Bowl is big business, not just for the teams involved and the NFL, but for retailers. For instance, according to the National Retail Federation those watching the big game expect to spend an average $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise and party supplies, for a total $17.2 billion.

That’s a lot of wings and things!

Note – NCP Public Service Announcement: We want to remind anyone hosting or attending a Super Bowl party – or a Kitten Bowl or Puppy Bowl party, for that matter – to record any “food, beverages, merchandise and party supplies” that you purchase.

Anyway, football is filled with statistics. So in honor of the big game, here are some super Super Bowl-related stats from WalletHub.com:

  • 17: Number of people who attend the average Super Bowl party
  • 27% of Americans plan to attend a Super Bowl party
  • 52.4% of Americans think Super Bowl Monday should be a national holiday
  • 6,000: Average calories for a football party feast
  • 1.4 billion chicken wings will be eaten
  • 10 million pounds of ribs are sold the week of the Super Bowl
  • 11.2+ million pounds of potato chips will be eaten
  • 8+ million pounds of guacamole will be consumed
  • 50%: Increase in pizza orders on Super Bowl Sunday than on the average day
  • 67% more pizza is eaten on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the average day
  • Favorite Super Bowl Foods:
    • 29% Wings
    • 26% Pizza
    • 15% Nachos
    • 14% dip
    • 7% chili
    • 6% BBQ
  • 51.7+ million cases of beer are sold for Super Bowl Sunday
  • 90% more beer is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than on an average day
  • $1.3 billion spent on beer and cider on Super Bowl Sunday
  • $597 million is spent on wine
  • $503 million is spent on hard liquor
  • 1 in 10 people will miss work the day after the Super Bowl

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the game! (or at least the commercials and halftime show.)

Best Regards,
Taylor