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Tops In 2008 Most Popular Consumer Goods
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Tops In 2008 Most Popular Consumer Goods

Nielsen has issued a year-end look at the most popular trends among Americans during 2008, covering everything from the top TV programs to the most popular consumer packaged goods.

It’s official: Americans love their carbs.  The Bread and Baked Goods category ranked number one for 2008 — both in terms of consumer purchases and retail sales.  According to Nielsen, 99% of U.S. homes purchased bread/baked goods at least once during the 52 weeks ending June 28, 2008.  The Bread/Baked Goods category raked in $18.3 billion in sales through November 1.  Other popular CPG categories include paper products, snacks, and carbonated beverages.

Scarborough Research, a joint partnership with Nielsen and Arbitron, also reported on the top U.S.  markets for online shopping.  Washington, D.C. and San Francisco ranked first and second, respectively, with 39% and 35% of adults spending $500 or more online in the past year.  Nationwide, 25% of adults reported spending $500 or more online in the past year.

Top 10 Consumer Packaged Goods Purchased by U.S. Homes

Rank Category % U.S. Homes

Who Purchased

Each Category

Within Past Year

1 Bread and Baked Goods 99%
2 Paper Products 99%
3 Snacks 98%
4 Condiments, Gravies, and Sauces 98%
5 Candy 97%
6 Milk, Cream, Eggnog, Shakes & Drinks 97%
7 Cheese 97%
8 Fresh Produce 96%
9 Packaged Meat-Refrigerated 96%
10 Carbonated Beverages 96%
Source: The Nielsen Company.
Note: Data reflects the percentage of U.S. households who purchased at least once during 52-weeks ending June 28, 2008. Data includes manufacturer prepackaged, UPC items only.

Top 10 Consumer Packaged Goods Sold in U.S. Retail Stores

Rank Category Dollars Sold

(in Billions)

1 Bread and Baked Goods $18.3
2 Carbonated Beverages $18.2
3 Fresh Produce $16.5
4 Milk, Cream, Eggnog, Shakes & Drinks $16.3
5 Paper Products $14.8
6 Snacks $14.6
7 Packaged Meat-Refrigerated $13.2
8 Cheese $13.1
9 Prepared Foods-Frozen $11.3
10 Pet Food $10.9
Source: The Nielsen Company (52-weeks ending November 1, 2008).
Note: Data includes manufacturer prepackaged, UPC items only. Data includes sales from food, drug, mass merchandiser stores, including Wal-Mart.

Top U.S. Markets For Adults Who Spent More Than $500+ Online Last Year

Rank Market % Adults Who Spent $500+ Online

In The Past Year

1 Washington, D.C. DMA 39%
2 San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose DMA 35%
3 Seattle/Tacoma DMA 34%
4 Honolulu DMA 33%
5 Phoenix DMA 32%
6 Boston DMA 32%
7 San Diego DMA 32%
8 Austin DMA 31%
9 Baltimore DMA 31%
10 Denver DMA 31%
  National Average 25%
Source: Scarborough Research, Scarborough USA+ Release 1 2008.

View the press release.

Relive the greatest hits of 2008 — stay tuned on Nielsen Wire for more Tops In 2008 coverage.

Look ahead to the new year with Nielsen Wire’s 2009 Industry Outlook series.