What Shoppers Are Buying Post Pandemic

With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions lifting and more U.S. adults becoming vaccinated against the virus, shoppers are returning back to stores.
Beauty aisle

And what’s flying off the shelves reveals Americans are ready for a cleanup with some personal grooming.

That’s according to the Wall Street Journal, which analyzed which products were being bought at heightened rates. Gone are the days of stores not being able to keep toilet paper and flour in stock at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, shoppers are looking for teeth whitening, deodorant and even condoms as life returns to normal. Additionally, sales of nail polish, perfume, swimsuits, sunscreen, tuxedos, luggage and alarm clocks are taking off again, according to WSJ.

After more than a year cooped up inside with limited in-person social interactions, consumers are wanting to look and feel their best before venturing back out into the world. To be sure, the demand for these products is smaller than the surge in demand for cleaning products, face masks and hand sanitizer, but beauty products are making a mark in first quarter earnings sales being released over the past few weeks.

“You can tell that the masks are coming off,” Walmart Finance Chief Brett Biggs told WSJ.

The report comes just weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new guidance that stated fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a facemask indoors or outdoors except in some circumstances, such as while traveling or using public transportation.

In addition to a 400% increase in luggage sales in April, partware sales doubled and balloon sales rose 50%. Shoppers are also updating their wardrobes, with Target reporting a 60% increase in apparel sales during the first quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Dresses, activewear, sporting goods and sun care products are also all reaching elevated sales levels.

“The first quarter felt like a first step towards a post-pandemic world,” Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell told WSJ.

Many of the products that surged during the pandemic, including baking goods,paper products and cleaning supplies, are falling in sales. In addition, consumers are actually spending more on higher-end personal care and grooming products, which may reflect the extra cash in some wallets from government stimulus.