Consumer spending in the days prior to a hurricane making landfall can spike up to 30% as people stock up on fuel and essentials. Hurricane Ian was no exception, driving a 23% increase in combined Big Box, Grocers, Home Improvement, and Dollar Store spending before landfall. As typical with other hurricanes, spending on essential categories seemingly overcorrected in Florida and the Carolinas during Ian. Households will likely use excess food and supplies they bought in the following weeks, essentially pulling forward some demand. Non-essential spending fell across the affected states, unsurprisingly, falling 20% YoY the week of landfall.
Historically, there have been some silver linings for consumer brands in those areas going forward. Restaurants will likely be positively impacted as responders and displaced households turn to dining out in lieu of eating at home, as happened with prior major storms.