As news of COVID-19 spread, many flocked to the grocery store and online websites to order everything they needed and stay at home as much as they could.
Foods like bread, milk, and meat were commonly bought at the grocery, while activities and games that would provide entertainment during quarantine and social distancing, such as puzzles and movies, were purchased as well. There are a lot of items that are mostly sold out today or are very hard to find, some that were expected, and some that weren’t.
If you haven’t been able to find something that you’ve been in search of, you’re probably not alone. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular items that have been purchased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cleaning Supplies… and TP?
To combat a disease, cleaning and sanitation supplies like hand sanitizer, paper towels, Clorox wipes, tissues, and more do some of the best work, and they were some of the first things cleared off the shelves. Those who couldn’t stay at home relied on these supplies to protect themselves and stay healthy, as did those who didn’t have access to clean water and soap. Doctors and scientists agreed that washing your hands is one of the best ways to fight COVID-19, but not everyone, especially those who live in lower-income areas of the country or struggle financially, can do that as often as recommended, so they rely on those supplies.
Something else that sold out quickly and was often stockpiled was an item that many found an odd choice: toilet paper. Those who expected the worst likely believed there would be enough food and water to go around for months, and that the supply wouldn’t run out, so they focused their efforts on toilet paper. The product soon became somewhat of a joke, and a meme commonly used on social media. As people have become less panicked and hoarding isn’t as common, toilet paper is returning to shelves, but the buying of the good isn’t quite limitless yet.
Freezers and Exercise Equipment
When presented with a scenario seen previously only in history textbooks and science fiction novels, it’s only natural for humans to react with panic. Panic-buying, and hoarding, were very common at the start of the COVID-19 emergency in the spring, and groceries inevitably ran out of some food items as people across the United States flocked to the stores to prepare. However, a lot of food is perishable but can be preserved for longer amounts of time if kept in a freezer. Thus, hundreds of people bought freezers to give themselves extra storage.
Another popular item was exercise equipment; ellipticals, stationary bicycles, even the expensive Peloton machine. Millions of people belong to a gym, and since the fitness centers were closed, they were forced to work out at home with the equipment and fitness rituals that were available to them. A healthy lifestyle has proved to be another thing that can decrease a person’s chances of getting the coronavirus or any other kind of illness, so getting enough physical activity, whether at home, outside, or at a gym, is extremely important, and this fact has resulted in a lot of money going toward at-home exercise equipment.
Vehicles and Outdoor Fun
Encouragement to stay at home and social distance from those outside of one’s immediate family meant that people were constantly looking for ways to entertain themselves and their families at home. And of course, people, especially young children, don’t want to stay cooped up in the house all day long, so many began investing in outdoor forms of entertainment. As the weather got warmer, kids and families spent more time outside, and things like bicycles, inflatable swimming pools, and backyard playground sets have become almost nonexistent at stores like Target and Walmart.
Additionally, sales of cars, trucks, boats, and RVs have skyrocketed since quarantine began. Many people are looking for a way to travel that is safer than flying and will allow for contact with fewer people, thus less exposure to COVID-19.RVs serve as a home away from home and make it so that people don’t have to stay in a hotel and risk staying in a contaminated area. Boats allow families to spend more time outside on lakes, and they still allow for social distancing, too. Automobile manufacturers and salespeople have offered incentives and assistance in the purchasing of a car, which has likely contributed to the explosion in sales.
COVID-19 has been a time of unprecedented change and has often felt scary or overwhelming. However, people all across the United States have found ways to cope with their “new normal”. Cleaning supplies like antibacterial sprays, hand sanitizer, paper towels, Clorox wipes, and more, as well as toilet paper, were swiped off the shelves back in the spring, and while inventory is slowly being rebuilt, there are still limits on how many items can be bought by each customer.
Additionally, things that allow families to spend more time outside, like bikes, playground sets, and inflatable pools, are still hard to find, as well, and the inventory of vehicles has declined steadily, too. So if you are in search of any of the above items, you’d better act quickly; they’ve been the most popular items since the COVID-19 pandemic began.