A global crisis of the magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic is truly unprecedented. To avoid the spread, most countries imposed lockdowns and almost all businesses and shops have been closed for extended periods now. Businesses quickly adapted and transitioned to remote work.
Since everything from offices, retail shops, and malls had to be closed, not only businesses but even consumers had to adjust their lives to this new reality. As soon as these restrictions were imposed, consumer buying behaviour changed abruptly and people responded by stockpiling goods. During this crisis, many people are turning to e-commerce services for the products and services they need. As a result, many new opportunities have opened for online retailers.
What products have witnessed an increase in demand?
While in the initial stages of the lockdown, people were trying to stockpile on supplies, but now people are trying to substitute their outdoor activities with indoor activities.
Following are some insights into the interesting customer purchases recorded from across the world:
• Tequila – The sales of tequila have increased by more than 175% between March 24 and the end of April (BBC). The overall alcohol sales in supermarkets have increased by 27% in the four weeks leading up to April 19 (Kantar).
• Gym Kits – Due to the lockdown, people are no longer able to go to the gym. As a result, the sale of gym equipment has increased drastically. According to John Lewis, it saw an increase of 496%. The fastest selling products are yoga mats and ankle weights. However, these products are not going to be purchased regularly, and this jump in sales was only temporary. Overall, department stores might see an approximately 35% drop in sales this year (BBC).
• Makeup – As most of the world is now working from home, many people are spending more time to make themselves look better for the camera. Self-tanning products and colourful makeup palettes have seen a 41% and 57% increase in sales, respectively (BBC). Experts say that the sales of affordable luxuries such as makeup might increase during the impending recession, but sales of other non-essential items might not.
• Luxury Bedding – Since people are going to be staying at home longer, they have opted to make some home renovations. Luxury bedding sales have increased by over 100% since the lockdown has started (BBC). As social activities have been curtailed, people are spending that extra money on their homes.
How have sales in different countries been affected?
After the initial stage of panic buying was over, the kind of products that people were buying, started to change. The products that are trending around the world differed from one country to the other. Let us have a look at what products the following countries were buying.
• Italy – The sales of brewer yeast saw an increase of 282%. Compared to all other products, this is the highest increase (CNBC). This is because people have started to make their own alcohol. Even the sales of food ingredients such as lard, flour, mascarpone, and oranges are also rising. As hair salons around the country remained closed, the sales of hair colourants went up 148% (CNBC). The country has started to ease lockdown measures from May 4.
• United States – While the Italians are making everything on their own, Americans have turned to processed foods. Frozen cookie dough sales went up by 454%, and sales of frozen pizza kits also went up by 243% (CNBC). Other products that saw an increase in popularity were dried yeast and reduced-calorie soft drinks. Disposable gloves and trashcan deodorizers were the highest purchased cleaning products.
• France – Like Italians, the people in France have also taken an interest in baking. The sales of yeast were the highest of any product in the country. It saw an increase of 175% (CNBC). Some other products such as flour, dessert, canned tomatoes, and cleaning products have also become more popular. The country’s officials had extended the lockdown for at least three weeks from April 26.
• Germany – The products that saw the most growth in sales were cleaning products such as cleaning wipes, home cleaners, and household gloves. This could be because people are preparing for life after the lockdown is lifted. Other products that Germans purchased include hand cream, yeast, fresh dough, and potato products. The sales of dried potato dumplings saw a 74% increase (CNBC).
• United Kingdom – Baking products saw the highest increase in sales in the UK. Even sales of canned meat, sausages, pasta, and noodles are also seeing rises. The country’s prime minister is currently recovering from COVID-19, and the country is trying to come out of the lockdown in a phased manner.