As the baby formula shortage continues, retailers and brands are working quickly to meet evolving consumer demand, considering supply chain driven headwinds, a baby formula recall, and inflationary-driven impacts. The DataWeave analytics team has actively tracked marketplace changes, alongside reports from the FDA, for the baby formula category at a state-level, and has shared the latest snapshot of product availability through June 7th, 2022, below.
While the U.S. has reached an average of 84% baby formula availability the first week of June 2022, given recent news headlines related to the baby formula shortage, and tracking out of stock encounters by state, we see a continued decline in availability throughout the Midwest versus product availability levels seen in May 2022.
Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky all show average availability for baby formula to be less than 50%, with Wisconsin being impacted the most at less than 18% average availability. While Texas shows an average availability improvement of 3.5% from the first two weeks of May 2022 to the first week of June 2022 as noted in the below chart, availability is also very low overall at less than 60%.
Outside of the Midwest and Texas, the other states for consumers to be cautious in are California, Virginia, and South Carolina as their month-over-month average change in availability also declined 4%, 12.6% and 8.2% respectively. Below is a snapshot of where the baby formula availability average started as of May 1st through the 15th, 2022.
Baby Formula Product Availability Changes – March 2021 through May 2022
At an aggregated level overall, the availability for baby formula was relatively stable across all retailers considered within our analysis from March 2021 through September 2021, but has been on a steady decline ever since, starting at 81.7% availability in September and ending at 53.8% availability in May 2022 as noted in the below chart.
Looking at baby formula availability at a retail level, we saw yet again not all availability challenges were alike, by month or retailer. Costco.com lead the other retailers within our analysis for greatest average availability from March 2021 through May 2022, but had one of the lowest availability percentages at 62.7% in May 2021, and dropped to the lowest availability of the group in May 2022 at 37.5%.
Baby Formula Prices Increase as Availability Changes
While unnecessary price gouging is prohibited, price increases are still happening at a slow and steady rate across all the accounts included within our Pricing Intelligence analysis given external market factors outside of baby formula recall related stockout scenarios.
Kroger.com experienced the greatest average price increases overall, with the peak being in May 2022 at a 19% increase, 8% higher than other retailers on average, versus prices seen in March 2021 for the same baby formula products. The most significant price hike occurred on Kroger.com from December 2021 to January 2022. Other retailers like H-E-B, Target and Wegman’s have had minimal price changes from March 2021 through May 2022.
Address the Baby Formula Shortage With eCommerce Intelligence
As the market continues to evolve and baby formula supply works its way to catching back up to demand, our team will continue providing critical pricing, merchandising, and competitive insights at scale, to enable retailers and brands to develop data-driven growth strategies that directly influence their eCommerce performance, accelerate revenue growth and drive profitability.
Be sure to reach out to our Retail Analytics experts for access to more details regarding the above analysis, or for more information on our Commerce Intelligence and Digital Shelf solutions, and let us know what other category insights you’d be interested in seeing this year.
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