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Chewing it Over

Lockdown 2020 - Alternative Smoking - Regions

In convenience stores across the United Kingdom, we have spotted that sales of chewing gum have fallen during the Covid19 lockdowns. I know what you’re thinking… now we’re not meeting in person and we just see each other on Zoom, it doesn’t matter if we have fresh breath anymore!! We wondered the same. To see if that was true, we looked at different lines to see if we could see a pattern.
Lockdown 2020 - Alternative Smoking - Regions
We charted sales of chewing gum and mints across 2019, 2020 and 2021. We can see a significant drop in sales in weeks 12 and 13 in 2020 and all the way through until week 28 sales do not reach the levels of 2019. The latter half of 2020 saw more regular sales but as we returned to lockdown, sales fell. In 2021, still under lockdown conditions, sales have stayed low.

But is it just chewing gum sales that have been hard hit by lockdown? We looked at bubble gum to see if it, as a non mint-based product has seen the same trend. Sales follow the same sort of trend – but this isn’t a breath freshening product – what could be the cause?

Lockdown 2020 - Alternative Smoking - Regions
Lockdown 2020 - Alternative Smoking - Regions
We thought it seemed likely that purchases of bubble gum and chewing gum might be made by drivers who, during lockdown were restricted to their driveway. To confirm our suspicions, we compared sales across stores in transient locations versus non transient location – transient would include stores that people pass on their route to work or stores people pass during travel.
Here we can see that transient stores have been the worst hit in sales for chewing gum and mints. This definitely suggests that it is those who are travelling who usually buy gum and mints, I’m so relieved – it seems consumers aren’t only consuming gum in place of dental hygiene – but to alleviate boredom whilst driving. Sales are clearly going to rise again as the country opens up.
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