Covid-19 Panic Buying has led to unusual and startling behaviour by some shoppers. The COVID-19 lockdown has changed our way of life … and the way we purchase. The sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG) for the first quarter in the United States were 23.7 billion dollars higher than in the same time the prior year, higher, in fact than that of CPG for the entire 2019 calendar year. “You can unquestionably see that their attention changed with people remaining at home,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said.
The real panic buying started when the shutdowns started. The first item that flew off the shelves were protective face masks, toilet paper and disinfectant cleaning products (in shops and online). Nielsen said sales of hand sanitizers rose by 470% from the same duration of 2019 during the first week of March. The second week of March, bath tissue, facial and paper towels saw triple-digit sales growth, with a 519% increase in aerosol disinfectant sales. While these types of quarantine purchases were somewhat anticipated, it was fun to watch what other consumers bought in their weeks of quarantine.
Here’s the list of Covid-19 panic buying things people did other than the toilet paper.
The buyers turn to baby wipes to hold it safe. Hand sanitizers and Clorox cleaner are too hard to get through. Currently, the best-selling baby goods in Amazon are wipes. The sales of disposable baby goods are slower due to reduced birth rates. (Conceivably several weeks in quarantine will end in an uptick of new babies in approximately nine months or so!)
It must be noted that most baby wipes do not protect us against the coronavirus. For a “sanitisation” wipe, it must contain 70% isopropyl alcohol to protect against germs, bacteria and viruses. Buyers may be better served by storing paper towels in a coffee container filled with a bleach solution.
SSA & Company, a global management consultant, has estimated that between 35 and 40%of consumers are eating home-cooked meals for the first time thanks to the lock-down. Surprisingly, sales of baked yeast increased by 647% more than any other packaged consumer product. And spiral hams increased by 622% over the same period last year (increased in part from the Easter holidays that approached).
During the first week of April, Amazon’s food and gourmet sales were 77% higher than two months ago. The Walmart Grocery app has outperformed Amazon by 20%, reaching a peak of all time: the average daily download of Walmart Grocery was 460% higher than in January on April 5.
There was a lot of debate over face masks at the beginning of the quarantine. Celebrities put N95 masks, though medical professionals did not. Health experts told many not to wear the face masks but later urged both the frontline staff and consumers to wear them.
Thus they have made videos and tips that have flooded social media. “How can you make your face mask.” Bandanas, scarves, t-shirts, socks and bra cups were made of masks. The elastic function of most of the DIY masks as necessary.
The shortage persisted, and people stepped up to make masks not just for themselves but for those in need as well. To this day, more than 114 million “Masks for America” have been collected by the call for Joann volunteers.
To boost supply masks for frontline workers, Singer donated sewing machines to designers and hospitals. There is no wonder that Elastic continues to hold the highest spot in the best Amazonian art, art and sewing sales. Those handmade masks will not be left alone!
For instance, in the first three months of 2020, sales of frozen and shelf-stable fruit increased almost five times as high as fresh fruit. During Amazon’s first month of quarantine, the chest freezer was the top-selling machinery. This is a response to initial concerns about the lack of food (particularly meat) in supermarkets. The freezers can also be used to safeguard the burgeoning quantities of food that are now prepared at home. A vacuum sealer is a great add-on to a freezer.
Now that the freezers have been installed, portable ice machines dominate the category of devices. Consumers are not going to the bars, and they are wary of icing coffees from driving around and drinking in the convenience shop. So they choose to make their cool drinks at home.
Since more people are staying home, the cumulative sales (including clothing) of beauty products have declined – approximately 50% annually. But remote employees want Zoom meetings presentable.
When the salons and the barbershops had been shuttered, the consumers had searched out products that would enable them to groom their own hair. “There is a need for a haircut,” said McMillon in April. “You ‘re seeing more colours of hair and beard trimmers and such stuff. Watching the dynamic play out is interesting.
Women’s eyebrow razors are currently among Amazon’s top five beauty and personal care divisions, with salon waxing and tweezing serves being discontinued. Sales have peaked and are now declining in men’s nose and ear hair trimmers. Luckily, nose whiskers are slow-growing.
5.Ping Pong Paddles
As a matter of urgency, after resolving their personal needs for security, food and grooming, customers were looking for ways to fill the hours spent at home. Puzzles (which were already common before COVID-19), coloured pencils, and games (Jenga or Connect 4, anyone?) were in high demand, purchased for home use (and sent to Grandma and Grandpa to allow them to stay).
Weirdly, ping pong paddles stand out, with sales up 89%! As the weather warms up, outdoor jewels like bubbles, wading pools, and sidewalk chalk are flying off Amazon’s shelves. Exercise clothes and appliances are also on the rise. Also, bird-watching products (seed, feeders) increased by 91% at the beginning of April.
Food scales ranked high among the best-sellers, interestingly. As more people cook at home, they find equipment and utensils to facilitate the job. Instant all-in-one pots, air fryer machines and waffle manufacturers were also in demand up 7% from last April. Other “non-essential” kitchen assistants include cookers for rice, vacuum sealers and soda makers.
Since late March, about 16 million U.S. information employees started working remotely, turning kitchen islands and dining room tables to home offices. Weeks later, the figure is likely to be even higher.
These telecommuters burn through personal stocks of copy paper and printer ink and switch to Amazon, Walmart, Staples, and other office supply stores for reams of paper, envelope boxes, and shipments of high-yield ink cartridges. Packaging tape, Sharpies, and tailbone pain relief pillows round out the top ten.
There’s the luxury of home entertainment for someone who’s trapped at home. Gaming, streaming, and binge-watching help fill the days but are difficult (if not impossible) without the right equipment.
BGR (Boy Genius Report) rounded up top-selling gadgets among its readers “because everyone is searching for new toys to play with while they’re sheltering.” The site found that AirPods are incredibly popular, even more now that they ‘re available at the lowest prices ever. Yet their success is pale compared to Amazon’s actual best sellers. Could this mean that families are removing their earbuds in order to interact with the family?
Streaming media players (or streaming sticks) are the best-selling portable hands-down devices. At the start of the lockdown, they made it big and remained a strong frontrunner. The Roku Streaming Stick and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K can both be had for under $50. The Nintendo Switch Lite, which was briefly out of the bestseller list because it was out of stock, is the best gaming console on hand. It could be in just about any colour right now, but more in pre-owned condition.
The Echo Dot is like getting somebody else in the room. One of Amazon’s best-selling apps of all time, it lets users do just about everything with a voice order. Find out the forecast or the latest news stories. Search for favourite tracks. Set thermostats and timers for the oven. Purchase several Dots and chat to the rest of the family who is locked in their own rooms during the lockdown! Since, with or without earbuds, everybody is always doing their own thing.
Many animal lovers never foster because they’re not at home enough to take care of their pets properly. Yet quarantines and lockdowns make it possible for a furry friend to come in! The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles reported a 70% surge in animals going into foster care.
New York City pet shelters saw a massive influx in adoptions and donations. Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society announced that the shelters they partner with were almost out of cats and dogs: by the end of March, applications had risen tenfold. “For the time being, we certainly don’t have any dogs left to pair” with foster volunteers, “said Muddy Paws marketing director Anna Lai. “Which is a great problem to have.”
And as the stock market fell, the shares of Chewy Inc. and PedMed Express Inc. rose. At the end of the first year, both were up 7%. Chewy, with a home delivery platform tailored to the lockdown, saw a 35% rise in revenue. Yet pet products (food, litter) are more or less recession-proof.
Meanwhile, on Amazon, pet nail clippers, flea medicine, fur trimmers, yet poop bags dominate the best-sellers list. Sales dropped out in April when customers used up their panic-storage shops, but they remain high. Let’s just hope that quarantine foster parents can hold on to their beloved pets until the economy is up and going again.