In the recent months of 2020, people have participated in 18% more impulse buying during the COVID-19 lockdown compared to traditional months. Consumers have also begun using touchless options like online grocery shopping, streaming services, and restaurant delivery. Among some of the most searched for items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and Lysol, retailers also experienced increased demands for electronics and entertainment items, home and office supplies, beauty and health products, and toys. Here are the most unique non-essential items that flew off the shelves for eCommerce businesses at the start of the pandemic and continue to make record sales.
While the majority of the US population spends more time at home, retailers specializing in adult toys have seen dramatic increases in sales. One retailer, Giddy Adult Toys, says their prostate massager has been their biggest seller throughout the pandemic. Another retailer, Bathmate, has seen a 55% increase in pump sales, and their orders continue to grow.
In the midst of COVID-19, consumers have become more health and environmentally conscious and have looked to products that could support their new lifestyles. As seen by many online retailers, fitness equipment and clothing as well as supplements and reusable or environmentally-friendly bottles have dramatically increased in customer demand.
Unexpected non-essential items like cooking ware and cooking devices have also been flying off the shelves. Dotcom Dollar has been selling out of their ice cream makers as people looked to satisfy their sweet cravings while their favorite shops were closed. Additionally, Abbio cookware saw a 500% increase in cooking supplies as consumers realized they didn’t have the necessary cookware to feed themselves and their family members.
eCommerce businesses specializing in food or cooking ingredients have also stayed very busy these last few months. Since people have been stuck at home and food supply chains experienced a dramatic change in available foods, consumers have spent time growing their culinary skills. They’re trying spices, rubs, and ingredients they may have never used in the past. These increased customer demands have created new avenues for online retailers to excel in.
Consumers started spending more time at home with pets and looked for unique ways to keep them fed and entertained. Whether cat, dog, reptile, or rodent, pet retailers greatly benefited from COVID-19 shopping habits. Pet retailer, GuineaDad, saw a huge surge of hay products and treats for shoppers with small pets. The Critter Depot even ran out of reptile food such as roaches because of the high customer demand.
Other retailers new on the market have been able to positively launch and scale their businesses. Kitty Poo Club has reached an 8-figure revenue with its cat litter sales and grew its database to over 51,000 subscribers. Bow Wow Lab’s pet supplies saw a similar trend with their pet products during the pandemic. They’ve grown 1000% since their opening in 2019 and are on track to continue to grow another 300% by the end of the year. Even retailers specializing in pet decor like Stellar Villa saw a massive spike in requests for custom pet portraits. Months later, the pet industry has continued to boom.
One of the most interesting non-essential products that saw significant growth during COVID-19 is pregnancy tests. Women’s health brand, Stix, saw increased sales of 80% across the county. Several states even expanded past this. Sales in Chicago experienced a 700% increase which contributed to massive revenue growth for the company.
Health and Beauty Supplies
With salons and wellness centers closed during the Stay-At-Home orders, health and beauty retailers experienced a surge in their online sales. Hair, skin, and nail products were among the most coveted items. Mad Beauty was able to launch a new Disney inspired face mask and has continued to see demand for this product months later.
Also while at home, consumers were looking for solutions to stay healthy and deal with the unprecedented times. Nutrition retailers like Best Price Nutrition had to quickly stock up on immune-supporting supplements and Aloe Gels for people creating their own hand sanitizers. Even businesses specializing in organic and CBD products saw their orders continuously roll in. Uncle Bud’s Hemp saw a spike in their hemp-based and CBD infused skincare products as a result of consumers washing their hands more frequently. Lokus Nutrition saw a similar spike in CBD products specifically developed to help with stress and anxiety.
Hobbies and Entertainment
Retailers specializing in entertainment and hobbies experienced an overwhelming number of orders for their products. While spending more time at home, consumers were looking for unique ways to develop a new skill and stay connected with their friends and family. As a result, these industries saw a surge in creativity and innovation, and some even doubled or tripled their typical revenue.
Several tech and audio companies were forced to make creative series packages for consumers experimenting with podcasts and live streaming. They needed equipment such as webcams, microphones, headsets, and other professional-grade products.
The interest in outdoor activities also experienced a spike. Garden of Bacchus sold out of many of their live plants and gardening supplies. Fishbrain experienced a 307% increase in sales for fishing gear like baits, lures, rods, and even boat accessories. The Complete Guide to Archery tripled their sales on bows and arrows. Even bicycles were selling out. One retailer said they saw a 121% jump in sales in March alone.
Although board games and video games did also contribute to sales in these entertainment industries, world travel maps were one of the most unique items to sell out. Map retailer, GeoJango, attributes their increase to the fact that consumers were trying to stay positive at home while planning post-COVID-19 vacations.
Consumers were also testing the waters with DIY projects like beer and winemaking, woodworking, and digitizing photos and videos to stay entertained.
Clothing & Jewelry
With so many people working from home, consumers were looking for loungewear or business casual clothing to wear. Retailer, Jane, saw a 210% increase in their lounge and sleepwear these past few months. Even traditional clothing like sweatshirts and t-shirts sales have spiked for other retailers.
In a time where the world is in flux, consumers have looked for items that make them feel good and promote positivity. True Warrior Jewelry’s healing crystals practically sold out, increasing their overall sales by tenfold.
Giving back also continued to be a trend nationwide. Charitable companies like Bead the Change saw a rise in the sale of their brackets as a result of consumers wanting to do their part to support the community. Another jewelry company, 1990, saw a massive movement in their leather bracelets that support building confidence and morale for women.
Formal jewelry also saw an increase in orders during the past few months. While the traditional wedding season was delayed, couples were still shopping for the perfect rings. One of the most interesting spikes in sales came from an east coast diamond jeweler. James Allen has been experiencing a 24% increase in engagement rings and a high demand for custom engravings. Many of the engravings were even specific to COVID-19. These included sayings like “Stay Home with Me,” 7/9/2020 US > CORONA,” “COVID Can’t Stop Us,” and “COVID 2020.”
Even as states reopen, many online retailers are still experiencing the long-term effects of COVID-19. As we move closer to the holiday shopping season, we may also continue to see these same buying habits because consumers have become accustomed to shopping from the comfort of their own homes. Here they can find the items they want for a great deal and maybe even get free shipping.
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