As the world faces an uncertain financial future, and many of us worry about how we are going to pay our mortgages and feed our families, for others money would appear to be no object.
Forget the fact that many online outlets are no longer operating, and that delivery times are significantly longer. Don’t dwell on the several-hour-long queues as you battle to get on to Boots or B&Q, only to find everything you want is out of stock.
Online shopping has never been more popular. Poor posties and couriers are complaining that they are delivering more parcels than they would at Christmas, and putting themselves at increased risk in doing so.
Far from buying only the essentials, some of the stuff we’ve been buying online is downright crazy – or at least very different to our normal purchasing behaviour. And we’re not even talking about toilet roll and hand sanitiser.
Affiliate networks show some really interesting data about what people are buying during lockdown, giving some interesting insight into how the nation is coping behind closed doors.
Here are some of those unexpected purchases for which you all have the perfect excuse: Corona made you do it.
Lay-Z-Spas, Hot Tubs & Pools
What does everyone need in the middle of a global pandemic? You guessed it, a hot tub! Sales of Lay-Z-Spas are so popular right now that the company has had to temporarily pause pre-orders, and they are sold out pretty much everywhere.
Argos has some very limited stock of the £320 Lay-Z-Spa Cancun, and the £400 Lay-Z-Spa Bali, but whether you can buy them depends very much on where you live. There’s also limited stock of this £1,249 Canadian Spa Company hot tub.
Wayfair is a good bet if your pockets are deep, with some stock of the £3,259.99 Trident Spa, and of the £3,899.99 Rhodes Spa. Talk about splashing out. However, if you’re not too bothered about the temperature of the water, it also stocks inflatable spas that are significantly cheaper, with many prices below £50.
Amazon, too, is suffering major stock shortages when it comes to hot tubs, but you can buy a range of plastic and inflatable pools and frame pools, all with speedy delivery, such as this £299.99 Extra-Large Intex Pool, this £84.99 3m Intex Metal Frame Pool, or this £50 Swim Centre Family Lounge Pool.
Maybe it’s from all the hours slouched in front of the TV, or perhaps you’ve been hitting it a bit too hard during your one hour’s daily exercise, but Brits have been snapping up massage guns for their aching muscles from Theragun.
We’ve spotted some great deals on the site, including £135 off the top-tier Theragun G3Pro.
Now that we’re only allowed out the house once a day for exercise, it’s been incredible to watch just how many people who wouldn’t normally exercise are now taking full advantage – and there has never been a better excuse to buy new shoes.
Nike, in particular, has seen massive growth in sales of running shoes, for men, women and kids. Also check out JD Sports and Sports Direct.
Home Gym Equipment
Almost certainly linked to the previous two examples of suddenly popular online purchases, treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines and other home gym equipment have been going mental at the likes of NordicTrack and JTX Fitness.
While one half of the population is sitting on its bum watching TV or working from home, the other half is preparing itself to come out of isolation like beautiful butterflies.
If you were hoping the high price of some home gym equipment might prevent them putting you to too much shame, remember that you can buy things like weights and skipping ropes at tiny prices, as we outline in our separate guide on where to buy home exercise equipment.
Actual bikes are selling like hot cakes, too, from the likes of Evan Cycles.
Anyone else feel a bit like we’ve gone back in time? I don’t think I’ve even seen a sewing machine in more than 20 years, but they are absolutely flying off the virtual store shelves. Argos has a great selection, many of which are still in stock, as do John Lewis and Amazon.
The reason behind this sudden interest is a little frightening, but also heart-warming. People are making their own face masks to help avoid the spread of infection, but they’re also clubbing together to make scrubs and scrub washbags for health workers in desperate need of extra kit.
Unsurprisingly, fabric sales (such as from John Lewis) have also rocketed.
This is one of my favourite crazy Corona buys – not because there is anything remotely interesting about a pair of hair clippers, but because the before and after pictures of people’s home hacks can keep you entertained for hours.
Unwilling to deal with their messy locks as all barbers close their doors, consumers across the nation are flocking to the web to buy home grooming gadgets.
You’ll find stock of hair clippers at Argos, Amazon, Very, Superdrug and Boots, along with dedicated beauty retailers such as Sally Beauty.
Clothes, Make-up & Beauty Buys
You’ve got nowhere to go and no-one to see, but women (and men) everywhere seem to be going that extra mile to prove they do this for themselves, not anyone else.
Cult Beauty is raking in sales, as are the likes of LookFantastic, Beauty Bay and FeelUnique, along with multiple high-street clothing chains.
If you can’t work from home, there’s no better time to get the garden into shape – but the sheer number of plants some people are buying is going to leave the UK virtually unrecognisable when we finally get released back into the outside world.
Gardening Express, Gardening Direct, Wickes and B&Q are just a few of the retailers seeing increased sales.
Home improvement is definitely right up there on the list of things people are doing to keep themselves occupied, and as someone who has personally waited four weeks for some paint to be delivered from Homebase I can tell you there is huge demand.
DesignerPaint is a great place to try, along with more traditional home improvement stores such as Screwfix and Wickes, but keep in mind that many of these stores will allow paint to be purchased on click and collect only.
Art & Paintings
I don’t think the COVID-19 outbreak is necessarily turning us all into more cultured creatures, but as we’ve seen above many people are looking to improve their homes and gardens, and hanging a painting or artwork on the wall can be a great way to very quickly give an otherwise boring room a makeover.
They might also make your home look more attractive, and you more cultured, in the background of any video calls you are conducting for work.
Etsy is a great place to find original and handmade artworks. You can also try sites such as ArtFinder, or why not design your own with canvas prints from Bonusprint, Snapfish, Vistaprint or Photobox?
I don’t think I need to explain why these are suddenly popular, but let’s just say we could be seeing a Coronavirus baby boom in around nine months’ time. Sites that are recording incredible growth in sales include the likes of LoveHoney and Ann Summers.