From Stockpiling Essentials, Americans are Now Spending More On This Item—And No, It’s Not Toilet Paper
The past weeks have been a flurry of stockpiling for basics like groceries and household items as more people are preparing for the quarantine period caused by the coronavirus outbreak. However, there has been a change in priorities for Americans. After the toilet paper frenzy, more people are now online shopping for books.
There has been a surge in online shopping as people are now mandated to stay home. They have temporarily bid goodbye to the typical trips to the store and have slowly embraced the realities of the new normal during the extended quarantine period.
In addition to the overall growth of e-commerce spending, sales data also show that American online shoppers have now shifted their focus to another category. They are now buying more books and games in a bid to entertain themselves while sheltering at home.
E-commerce spending in the United States saw a growth of more than 30% from the start of March through mid-April. This is a significant growth compared to the same time last year. Market research firm Rakuten Intelligence says that this growth is 50% more than the average annual growth in recent years, which is only at 20%. This data just shows what Americans are now buying and the shift of priorities for shoppers amid the quarantine.
This figure is a sharp contrast to the recent data for retail sales in the U.S.—including figures of brick-and-mortar businesses. In March, sales declined by 8.7%, the biggest drop since the government started monitoring it in 1992.
The surge in online ordering was initially driven by demand for staples. According to Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Kodali, there was a huge stockpiling that happened in March, a time when states have begun stay-at-home orders. Some of the most in-demand items—which were usually bought in bulk—are home office equipment, health products, and pet supplies.
A Shift From Basics to Books
Rakuten Intelligence senior vice president of marketing and public relations Jaimee Minney saw a trend in “panic buying” right at that time when the outbreak was still new and unfamiliar to the general public. Now that it has been quite some time since people have been adjusting, they have now focused on a different type of need.
According to Minney, people have now realized that things are okay and that they can go beyond the basics of food and shelter.
Comparing the data during the 1st half of March prior to stay-at-home orders and during the 1st half of April, there have been huge increases in entertainment-related categories in e-commerce as people are now looking for ways to keep themselves busy during the quarantine.
Book purchases alone went up by a whopping 777%. The toys and games category followed with 182%, sports and outdoor items including gym equipment went up by 131%, while demand for home improvement and health and beauty increased by 71% and 38% respectively.
On the flip side, online spending on cleaning supplies and grocery items has been reduced to 25% in the 1st half of April. Quite low if you compare it to the 100% annual growth rate.
The slowdown may be attributed to the fact that it has become harder to find these essential items on the Internet. Minney says that these have become harder to come by.
Another possibility is that many Americans are now struggling financially, with over 26.5 million people filing for unemployment amid the COVID-19 crisis. Those who can afford are now reaching beyond the basics and are finding ways to pass the time. Minney is expecting this trend toward self-improvement to continue in the next weeks and months.
More in Business & Finance
Age Milestones Before Your Retirement: Here’s What Matters The Most
There are a lot of age milestones throughout your life and no doubt, you have fond memories of all those milestones....June 6, 2021
Buying A Luxury Property After Retirement? Here’s What You Need To Know
Real estate is always considered a safe investment. Whether you want to buy, sell, or flip a real property, you can...June 2, 2021
Here’s How You Can Get the Best Out of Mortgage Rates!
We always need ready cash available to buy or fix up a home, that’s when a mortgage loan comes into play....May 31, 2021
Three Best Banks For Small Businesses In 2021
As a small business owner, you would definitely look for a bank that suits your needs. Whether a bank is the...May 30, 2021
Do You Need To Replace 80% Of Your Annual Income For Retirement?
According to the rule of thumb, if you are aiming for a comfortable retirement, you need to replace 80% of the...May 26, 2021
Three Key Rental Property Loans You Should Know About!
Whether you are making your investment portfolio a diverse one or building up a portfolio that can protect you against inflation...May 24, 2021
Here’s Why You Need to Make a Bucketlist After Retirement!
So many people want to enjoy a happy and active life after retirement and yes why should people hang up their...May 23, 2021
Are You In The Military? Here’s How You Can Save Money For The Future
If you are serving the military, you are serving your country. You can be in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines,...May 20, 2021
Here’s Why Staying Unbanked Is Not A Good Idea At All
Do you really think that every single individual that you come across maintains a bank account to drop their paychecks and...May 19, 2021