The Pandemic Economy: What Online Shoppers Are and Aren’t Buying

Toilet paper isn’t the only thing consumers are panic buying during the pandemic. In fact, while online sales of toilet paper have grown 190% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, other items are even more in demand.

However, the sales of some items have been given the COVID-19 kiss of death.

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Pandemic Economy

What Consumers Are Buying Online During the Pandemic

The demand for disposable gloves is up 670%, which isn’t surprising, as they have become a necessity for those who have to leave home.

However, it’s a bit unexpected that bread machine sales have skyrocketed 652% — almost as much as gloves. Amazon’s best-selling bread machine is currently sold out. Give us our daily bread.

To stay prepared, the online sales of cough medicine are up 535%. We hope everyone is well and you’re stocking up just in case you get a cold. Over-the-counter pain relievers are up 99%.

Sales of other staples such as soups (up 397%), rice and dried grains (up 386%), and other packaged foods (up 377%) have surged as well. The grocery delivery app Instacart has seen a 150% increase in use over the past few weeks and order sizes have increased an average of 15%.

Aside from groceries, remedies, gloves and toilet paper, we seem to be taking good care of ourselves in quarantine, with sales of weights up 307%, other fitness goods up 170% and vitamin sales have increased by 166%.

What Consumers Are Not Buying

Luggage and briefcases are not selling well at all right now, with sales down 77%.

Since we’re not going anywhere to take pictures for a while, the sale of cameras is down 64%, as is men’s swimwear.

The weddings have been postponed or canceled, so online sales of bridal wear are down 63% and the men won’t need tuxes either, so men’s formal wear sales are down 62%. The apparel market certainly didn’t need this, as January was already the worst month in apparel sales since 2009.

Similarly, women’s swimwear, rash guards, boy’s athletic shoes, gym bags, drones, golf clubs, and coolers have all seen a harsh dip in sales.

Nobody really needs party and event supplies right now and those sales have dropped 55%. 

Small businesses are suffering during the coronavirus pandemic and many won’t make it through. Store fixtures and display sales have also been cut in half.