What Are People Buying More of During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Nonperishable food, exercise equipment and disposable gloves are among the big sellers

Online grocery shopping
What are people buying more of since the pandemic began?
PiggiusMax/Creative Commons

Since lockdowns and social isolation began in earnest around the country last month, many people’s shopping habits have changed in unexpected ways. Some of that is due to needing more supplies, for people who find themselves working from home; for others, it might include the need to provide meals for family members whose school has shifted to a distance-learning module. Whatever the circumstances are, things have changed for a lot of people — and that’s not taking into account the effects of supply chain issues during this time.

A new deep dive at Digg offers some clarity on how Americans’ buying habits have changed since the pandemic response began. The report comes via Visual Capitalist, and uses data from Stackline — data which compares online sales from this year to last year. In total, it offers a glimpse into what people are buying more of — and what items have dropped dramatically in sales.

The biggest gains, according to the report, come in disposable gloved and bread machines — both of which have sales that are up over 600% from last year. Sales of soups, rice/dried grains and packaged foods are all up considerably as well —not surprising, given the practicality of procuring non-perishable foods.

Equally telling are the items which have seen large drops in sales — including luggage, briefcases and gym bags. Swimwear, bridal wear and formal wear also took hits relative to last year.

While sales of certain forms of attire might have dropped, products designed to help people stay fit have increased. Weights, vitamins and “fitness goods” all saw upticks in sales — as did pain relievers. There’s nothing terribly shocking in this data, but seeing it all in one place provides a window into what American consumers are doing right now — and what they’re buying when they go online.

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