It’s been a crazy 6 months to say the least. We’ve stockpiled toilet rolls, embarrassed ourselves on Zoom multiple times and it turns out many of us have stopped showering (more on that later). With the global economy being turned upside down this year, we thought this week we’d have a look at consumer buying trends over the past few months. Here’s what we’ve been purchasing as a nation. FYI, some may surprise you…
When it was announced that gyms were closing back in March, demand for home workout equipment soared, leading companies to ramp up the prices of their items. Regular gym goers panicked they couldn’t get their workout fix, whilst some of those on furlough took lockdown as an opportunity to get in shape, which led to the rise in demand. Kettlebells were the biggest seller in the run up to Easter, with demand jumping 419%. Other equipment that can easily be used at home such as resistance bands, skipping ropes and yoga mats also increased in demand. One of the biggest sports retailers, Sports Direct made the most out of the increased demand by upping prices of these items as much as 50%. It didn’t deter consumers though, we still kept buying. Gotta make those lockdown gains.
On the other end of the spectrum, it appears personal hygiene went straight out of the window during lockdown. As we weren’t commuting to work or going on nights out, we let our personal hygiene slip. It turns out Britons as a whole skipped their showers in the depths of lockdown. There was even the whole ‘no poo’ movement (no this didn’t mean skipping going to the toilet). It was where many of us stopped using shampoo, presumably because we had nowhere to go.
PZ Cussons reported different trends in their sales across the period of lockdown. Their sales of shower gels and deodorant declined. They recently reported a nearly 33% drop in pre-tax profit to £29.3 million on revenue of £587.2 million for the financial year ending May 31, down 2.6%. Whilst this was mostly due to the brands under their remit that sold shower gels, deodorants and makeup, they did report that one of their brands, Carex who focuses on hand soap and antibacterial products saw a rise in sales. They even had to use pump dispensers that were meant to be for Imperial Leather, for their Carex products in order to meet demand.
Unsurprisingly, sales of makeup declined during lockdown. As we had nowhere to go, we all went makeup free, ditched the wipes and contributed to saving the planet all in one, success. Professional Beauty reported that 55% of female facial skincare users have reduced how frequently they wore make-up in lockdown. However it wasn’t all doom and gloom for makeup brands as a lot of them made up for their loss in makeup sales, with the increased demand for skincare products.
Sales of Micellar Water increased by 4%, and moisturisers increased in demand by 7% compared to the same period in 2019. Toners and face wash sales also rose. Afterall, being at home/on furlough does mean we have more time to dedicate to a skincare regime.
In fact, Google trends show us just how much we’ve invested our time in skincare over lockdown. Check out the graph below, that’s a big increase in search volume for the term ‘skincare routine’ compared to 2019.
We never thought ‘Zoom fashion’ would be a thing, but here we are in 2020 sitting in front of our laptops with just our undies and a blanket on our bottom halves (because why wear pants when there’s no need, it’s just extra laundry).
Clothing companies quickly clocked on to the fact that many of us were in the same boat. We needed to look smart for video calls, but we wanted our bottom halves to be comfortable. Cue the demand for ‘Zoom fashion’. There was even a whole campaign created around it (you can check it out here), which perfectly encompasses how we’ve all been working from home, and it’s a bit too accurate.
It’s no surprise that casual clothing, or loungewear, came out on top among the popular “lockdown clothing” categories, with a 433% jump in consumer demand, followed by hoodies, sweatshirts, and joggers.
Many brands even brought out their own collection of Zoom fashion. For instance fast fashion giant PLT, has a whole section called ‘Joggers and a Nice Top’. Now that’s good marketing.
Lockdown was brutal for businesses. There is no doubt about it. Although it became evident that if you already had a large online and marketing presence you were already ahead of the game when lockdown hit.
For example, Primark who have no online presence, had 1.5 billion pounds worth of items just stockpiled up in lockdown awaiting the go ahead for stores to reopen.
Primark’s online competitors such as NastyGal and PLT were able to stay selling and marketing to the masses. With huge marketing budgets (which explains why they are always at, or near the top of the Google SEO rankings) and top of the range mobile and web apps under their belt it certainly helped them continue to profit during the pandemic and quickly shift their offering to the needs of the consumer.
It’s not just fashion where having a big online marketing presence has paid off over lockdown. When the consumer demand for online food deliveries soared, the majority of supermarkets were well prepared as they already had an online delivery system in place. Aldi however, hadn’t even considered online shopping at this point, thus missing out on the huge boom in online sales. They have only now, in late September, brought out a Click and Collect service. It may not be full service online delivery, but it’s definitely a step in the direction of digital. This comes after it was reported that Aldi and Lidl, both of which don’t have an online shopping feature, have not seen as much of an increase in sales over lockdown, compared to their competitors who offer the service.
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