Call them popular pandemic purchases. They are those items that we spent hundreds of dollars buying in the hope that they would help us get through the worst days of the lockdown imposed by COVID-19.
In normal times most of us would not buy these items. Chances also are that we will stop using them once the pandemic is finally over.Read More »
Our purchases reflect a rollercoaster year, says Meghann York, global head of product marketing at Emarsys. During times of unrest and confusion we set out to find not only stability and comfort, but also fulfillment and meaning. We exchanged our suits for sweatsuits. We developed new hobbies and we invested our money and time in products that brought contentment and joy.
What we bought
• First among the top 10 items we bought according to Emarsys fall under the general heading of fitness equipment. These items comprised seven out of every 10 of the top pandemic-time purchases. We bought exercise bicycles, treadmills and free weights, each of us spending an average of $265 on the equipment. Clearly our purposes were to keep fit during the extra time we spent in lockdown. Instead of exercising outdoors, we exercised indoors.
• Included under fitness equipment were yoga mats which we bought in an attempt to cope with the stresses of the pandemic.
• Second in the top-10 list were paints and paintbrushes. Their position on the list shows that many of us turned to painting while in lockdown. It provided us with a way to relax and cope while we were unable to have much social interaction.
• Sixth on the top-10 list were canvases. They clearly belong with paints and paintbrushes , boosting that category even more.
• In third place on the top-10 list is loungewear. We had no need to dress up in any way so we worked and relaxed in our pajamas, leisurewear, or whatever made us comfortable. Matching pajama sets were particularly popular as were wearable blankets for those colder nights. We spent an average of $79 on loungewear.
• We spent time with family playing board games to occupy us when we could not get out and were tired of watching TV. They feature in fourth place. Another way those of us who were alone occupied their time was through putting together jigsaw puzzles which are in eighth place on the top-10 list.
• Occupying fifth place is a pet. Many of us turned to our furry friends to provide us with companionship during those dark days of restricted activity.
• Because we were unable to go out and have our nails done, many of us turned to being self-sufficient with home nail kits, which feature in seventh place. Along with them are gel lamps which we used to dry our newly polished nails.
• We relaxed so much we spent money on reading or sleeping pillows, which occupy ninth place on the list.
• Occupying the tenth spot on the list are baking sets. Unable to visit restaurants in the early days of the lockdown we decided to do all the cooking ourselves.
Then there are those items that we bought—not necessarily in such large amounts but definitely more than we usually do—that can be described as fascinating or even a little strange. Here’s five of those items:
• Home tattoo kits. An average purchase of a kit was $131. If you cannot get out and obtain a new tattoo because the place is closed, why not do it yourself? No comment is available on just how easy that process is.
• Hot tubs sold more than usual, with each person forking out $313 on them. If you were unable to visit a hot tub because it was closed, surely it made sense to get your own.
• Joining the baking sets were butter churns. We were indeed doing more than only the cooking ourselves.
• Pinball machines sold more than usual. Again, if you could not go out somewhere and play, you could play at home.
• Among the most fascinating items was sponsoring a llama. We spent $224 doing that. We must confess that we are unsure how this relates to the pandemic and the lockdown.
In 2022 we are hoping as a nation to get off the rollercoaster and trade possessions for experiences, says York of Emarsys. We also will take more care and time when making decisions on purchases, she adds.
Almost half of us will be spending more money on social outings, such as trips to restaurants and vacations. But we will also continue to put money down on pets, new homes, and robot vacuums, York says.