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Popular in a pandemic

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

What our new covid habits are  

A few weeks ago, we witnessed bare supermarket shelves as the pandemic started to gain momentum, but as we sit on our toilet paper thrones, and settle into isolation, what else is being stock-piled? We aren’t talking about the expected items such as masks, hand sanitiser and pasta; we are talking about the UNexpected things that are sold out EVERYWHERE.

Because these items paint a picture of what we are all doing whilst in isolation.

We are cooking.. and making lots of bread!

One of the things people want to make during isolation, is bread. And as yeast is one of the hardest thing to find right now (US reporting a 647% increase in yeast sales), it’s no surprise that ‘yeast less bread recipes’ saw a 4400% increase in searches on Pinterest.

You might have also seen an increase in the banana bread content by friends and influencers on your feed. Google trends showing a massive spike in banana bread recipe searches from the end of March.

And as more people try their hand at cooking, some aren’t having great success. The Alfred hospital reported an increase in severe burns since the stage -3 lockdown was implemented. Majority of burns caused by hot oil, and others from people cooking whilst intoxicated.

We are playing

It’s no surprise that toys, games and puzzles have seen a massive increase in sales as people find ways to entertain themselves indoors.  Myer reported a 475% increase from last year in sales for toys including Lego, boardgames and puzzles. As we are all working online, reading and watching more news than ever and communicating with friends via video, an offline and mindless activity like doing a puzzle is the perfect answer.   

We are working out!

No gyms? No problems, people seem to have turned their living rooms, and courtyards into their personal gyms; making dumbbells, yoga mats andkettlebells are near impossible to get.

Pinterest has reported an increase of 329% on ‘home workouts, no equipment’ searches.

We are keeping comfy

Lyst has started reporting weekly global fashion searches through COVID-19, and these are weird and wonderful. It is clear that peoples’ choice in fashion is ruled by either what can be seen via video chats or what is comfortable. In Australia, ‘tops’ was one of the most searched categories, and men’s underwear has been increasing by 11% WoW.

Globally, searches for tie-dye sweats /sweatsuits have increased by 42% in the last week, as these quickly become the quarantine uniform. But don’t worry, as these sell out, just jump on TikTok and learn how to DIY tie-dye at home using everyday items like toilet cleaner as thousands of videos start popping up with instructions.

Statement earrings searches have also increased by 40% in the last week, as video chats usually only show a close up view of people’s faces.  

Myer has also reported that sleepwear, bras and undies have jumped between 100-400% compared to the same period last year.

We are drinking

As people try and cope with these stressful times, alcohol sales and consumption have increase. Commbank reported a 20% increase in alcohol purchases  compared to last year. And according to a YouGov poll, 33% of Australians are drinking every day and 70% are drinking more than usual.

We are FINALLY doing that home project

Bunnings may have stopped their Sausage Sizzles, but that has not stopped people shopping there. Bunnings has had to introduce purchase limits as people flock to their stores to finally work on their home projects. Limits are being placed on cleaning products, generators, gas bottles, storage products are more.

We’ve become home beauticians

People have also turned themselves into beauticians with DIY haircuts, manicures and eyebrow waxing having a moment. Nielsen reporting hair clipper sales have jumped 166% and hair colouring products 23% from last year.  Home hair cuts saw a 417% increase in searches on Pinterest and thousands people didn’t bother trying for a fancy do and just straight up shaved their heads. Some people said they did it because they didn’t know when they would next see a barber/hair stylist, but some did it out of boredom and curiosity.

At the end of the isolation period, maybe some of these new developed habits become the norm. We could see an increase in people working out at home or outside, playing board games with family, gardening and cooking more at home. However, if we do all go back to pre-COVID habits, at least we will all know how to make banana bread.

Sylvia Jahn

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