IRI Adds CPG Supply Index to COVID-19 Portal

Chicago, IL—IRI has added the IRI CPG Supply Index to its COVID-19 Info Portal and Data Dashboard, according to a press release. The tool provides a standard metric for tracking weekly changes in the availability of CPG products in absolute terms, as well as a relative measure compared to pre-pandemic levels across departments, retail formats, and regions.

The Index is calculated from daily point-of-sale and e-commerce transaction data reported from major chains’ macro inputs, including seasonality, events, and holidays, as well as the COVID-19 spread rate by region, the press release explains. To this data set IRI applies proprietary algorithms, which leverage artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to produce accurate in-stock rates by U.S. state and region for edible and non-edible products.

The solution allows users to choose between “In-Stock Percentage” and “Supply Index.” The In-Stock Percentage metric provides insight into in-stock rates in absolute terms; the Supply Index metric allows users to compare current rates with pre-COVID-19 levels using data collected during the week ended February 23, 2020, as a baseline.

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Key insights revealed in the press release:

  • Supply is still lower than it was before the pandemic, but it has remained steady in recent weeks.
  • In the week ended May 10, categories in the edible section remained consistent with the prior week; the beverage department was the only exception, which took a slight dip.
  • In the non-edibles section, the home care and general merchandise departments saw slight declines; the other departments remained generally consistent.

Andrew Appel, President and CEO of IRI, said in the release: “COVID-19 is disrupting supply chains across the globe, which has made it extremely difficult for CPG businesses to track product availability metrics such as in-stock rates and is creating unprecedented local variation within each country. Our new CPG Supply Index provides insight into which products are making it to stores’ shelves and at what levels. This comprehensive solution uses IRI’s refined proprietary algorithms to model in-stock rates both in absolute terms and against measurements taken just before the COVID disruption—giving CPG retailers and manufacturers a holistic picture of how consumers experience out-of-stock issues.

“The insights gleaned from this index can be further enhanced by comparing them with data from the IRI CPG Demand Index, which measures consumer purchases, by dollar sales, against the year-ago period,” Appel continued. “As the Demand Index has shown, the pandemic has caused large increases and fluctuations in consumer purchasing, but the out of stocks will impact their overall and by-brand purchasing. When used together, IRI’s indices allow businesses to understand where they need to focus their efforts to optimize their production and supply chains to meet consumer needs in the rapidly changing environment.”