Panic Buying Turns to Personal Care Items...
How have buying behaviors changed over the last few weeks? What are the top-selling products across ecommerce marketplaces?
The Short Answer
People seem to be spending more on month-to-month products, like razors and nail polish, instead of just day-to-day essentials. “Panic buying” is reverting to comfort shopping, as we’re getting (somewhat) used to life holed up at home. Many of us are also prioritizing personal care to relieve stress from the last few weeks—and though in normal times, we may have considered call-in services while salons were closed, today we’re taking matters into our own hands.
The Long Answer
Just a few weeks ago, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that we’re now in the hair color phase of panic buying. Buyers are now making room in their closets for self-grooming tools, as “quarantine beards” threaten to shatter any no-shave-November records.
Sure enough, research by Zentail corroborates that recent weeks have shifted buyer focus to the finer things of (quarantine) life.
Razors, hair clippers and bidets are selling at record rates in early April, curbing panic purchases of toilet paper, tissue and other essentials.
In March, combined sales of health supplies (including medicine, vitamins and bathroom tissue) were up 92% MoM between key marketplaces—but those sales have since dropped by 33%, though hand sanitizer is still flying off the digital shelves.
We leveraged our AI-powered categorization tool, SMART Types, to dig deeper into what items are popular this month across channels like Amazon, eBay and Walmart Marketplace. Here’s what we found.
Hair is getting long and unkempt these days. DIY haircuts are all the rage, even among celebrities. As families are setting up their at-home hair studios all across the country, hair clipper sales are skyrocketing; several weeks between March and April saw a multi-thousand percent increase from last year.
That translated to nearly seven times more sales from March to April.
Queries for "how to use hair clippers to cut hair" have also increased 140% on Google over the last few months, while searches for "how to cut mens hair at home" have jumped 350%.
“Quarantine beards are real!” Tucker exclaimed, stroking his own six-week-old beard as he dug into the data. After a slow January and February, razors have seen sustained growth in sales since March.
At its peak, razors were up 1,140% YoY. Now, sales are growing at a steady rate, having more than doubled in sales between February and March, and then climbed 369% between March and April.
Aside from needing to trim their locks, people seem to be wrestling with gray hairs or pampering themselves to new styles.
Former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre even revealed orange hair during an interview with CBS in April.
“[My daughter said,] ‘Hey Dad, let’s make a TikTok,” Favre explained. “I tried my hand at that. My dancing was terrible. We got on the subject of colored hair and I said, ‘Color my hair, whatever.’ I don’t have anything to do other than this right now.”
In the last five weeks, hair dyes have seen a huge influx of orders online. Sales on hair dye are up 300% on average compared to last year.
As step two of their quarantine pamper sessions, Americans are also turning to good old nail polish. On Instagram, the hashtag #QuarantineNails has already racked up over 20 thousand posts.
And in a recent interview with Cacee, a company (and Zentail user) specializing in nail and spa products, said that DIY nail care kits are selling like hotcakes. Cacee’s sales more than doubled between February and March, and are on track to seeing 2x growth again by the end of April.
Sales on nail clippers and nail polish are trending in a similar direction across all of ecommerce. There was a surge in demand beginning mid-March. Nail polish sales then peaked in early April, at more than a 1,000% YoY increase.
Some homeowners are undoubtedly investing in the long haul. As toilet paper is scarce, bidet sales have seen a massive jump. Americans are treating themselves to royal thrones for their time in the bathroom—reducing toilet paper consumption and trips to the store.
“The US is finally discovering the bidet’s brilliance,” read one news headline on April 14.
“The quote people have been bringing up again and again is, ‘if a bird pooped on you, you wouldn't wipe it off with a dry towel. You would wipe it off with water,’” said Wired Senior Writer Kate Knibbs in a NPR interview, literally all about bidets.
Online sales of bidets peaked in early April, when sales hit nearly a 200% increase from the year prior. This speaks to the general observation that people are learning to adapt to their new lifestyles. Amid all the uncertainty, they’re finding new, creative and sustainable ways to solve the problems brought on by the pandemic.
Got Questions About What's Happening on Ecommerce Nowadays?
Tucker and Paul (a.k.a. the Zentail Growth Team) are looking at the data to answer your burning questions about ecommerce. What's on your mind these days? Submit an anonymous request here.
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