Although many ‘non-essential’ shops were closed for long periods of time all over the world, and retail sales on the whole declined, it did not mean that people stopped shopping altogether. A huge amount of items were bought online, and some items predictably sold in millions.
While these items did come close to becoming the biggest overall sellers (that remained fashion and tech, the same as before the pandemic), these are some of the products whose sales were boosted the most as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis:
Online courses and eLearning
Whether it was called quarantine or lockdown, it meant a lot of people were stuck at home. A great many of these spent the time overeating and watching Netflix (more on that in a minute), but plenty of others took (or at least enrolled in) some form of online course. For some, it was to learn a language; for others, it was to learn a new skill.
Among the most popular of those were coding and nutrition, especially for those who wanted to be part of or to benefit from the move towards Veganism. The absolute bestsellers, though, were courses delivering advice on overall wellness, giving foundations to the theory that we will all emerge from the crisis with at least one eye on taking better care of ourselves.
Vitamins and supplements
This is further reflected in two of the other major online sellers during 2020, the first of which is vitamins and supplements. The spike in sales of products that boost immunity and help with coping with everyday life, while surprising no one, is still quite staggering in terms of units sold. Especially when you consider many of those sales were spread widely across what is a fragmented industry and would have been triggered for the most part by internet and social media rumors.
Medical supplies (especially PPE)
The same was true of the type of what was previously specialist medical PPE (that is now commonplace). The needs of medical practices, care homes, and even hospitals dwarfed any previous demand, and with the additional need from shops and domestic use, key items were in short supply.
This was where sites like UK specialist retailer medical-supermarket.com show their worth, as many of these are already partners with healthcare professionals and are aware of the level of service and care required. This was something that was not necessarily the case with a more general online retailer and was something they could pass on to their new customers.
Last of all, we have online streaming services. This section will obviously include Netflix, which gained 10m worldwide subscribers in one month alone, and Amazon’s Prime Video. Yet, it was newer services like Disney+, which have so far gained 22m new subscribers, that topped the list during the coronavirus crisis.
A special mention as well for music services like Spotify which also saw a surge in use (if not subscriptions), and the purchase of audiobooks, which saw a 42 percent increase.