First, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and toilet paper.
Now the hair clippers and hair dyes are flying off the shelves.
In recent weeks, the purchasing habits of Americans reflect the way in which the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and affect daily life.
“You can certainly see that when people stayed home, their goals changed,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on Friday.
After stocking up on food and consumables, buyers turned to puzzles, games and other forms of timeless entertainment and education, he said.
Now sales show that – without the opportunity to venture into a hair salon – people go shaggy.
“People are starting to need a haircut,” said McMillon. “You see more beard trimmers and hair color and things like that.
Here is an overview of the evolution of shopping habits in recent weeks:
Week 1: Disinfectants, soaps and hand sanitizers
The first wave of intensified purchases showed that consumers were buying various means of protecting themselves as the virus spread in the United States – masks, cleaning products and hand sanitizers.
During the week ending March 7, sales of hand sanitizers soared 470% over the previous year, according to data from Nielsen. Sales of aerosol disinfectants increased 385%.
Consumers across the country behaved as if they were preparing for a major storm.
“We strive to keep our shelves filled with products similar to those where a blizzard is requested and people know they could be stuck at home”, Andrea Karns, vice president of sales and marketing at Karns Foods, a A family-run chain of nine stores in Pennsylvania, said CNN Business in early March.
Week 2: Toilet paper
Then, in a buying spree that baffled many people and served as inspiration for Covid-19 memes and calculators, buyers stored toilet paper.
The purchase of panic resulted in even more purchase of panic, and the rush for toilet paper caused ripple effects in the supply chain.
“Most factories are already operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are operating at fixed capacity,” Tom Sellars, CEO of Sellars Absorbent Materials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, told CNN last month. “It’s not like there is an idle machine that can be launched to increase production. “
Nielsen reported that toilet tissue, handkerchiefs and paper towels all experienced triple-digit sales increases in the week ending March 14. That same week, sales of aerosol disinfectants increased 519%, according to Nielsen.
Weeks 3 and 4: spiral hams and baker’s yeast
As the homecoming turns into a facility, the Americans turn to pastry.
In the weeks ending March 21 and March 28, baker’s yeast sales increased more than any other packaged consumer product, up 647% and 457%, respectively, in the same weeks in 2019. Spiral hams were also popular, with sales reaching 622% and 413%, during the same period, according to Nielsen.
The flour and yeast manufacturers say there is no shortage of supply for their products (in addition, there is never really a shortage of yeast). They are just trying to catch up, as are other manufacturers whose products are suddenly in demand.
“It will take a minute for the supply chain to respond to much greater demand in such a short time,” Sherri Merrill, purchasing manager at Bob’s Red Mill, told Quartz.
Week 5: Hair clippers and hair dye on the rise
Spiral ham was still king during the week ending April 4, but data from Nielsen also showed that consumers were starting to gravitate toward other products to maintain their manes.
Sales of hair clippers increased 166% and hair coloring products increased 23% from the same period a year earlier, according to Nielsen.
Americans have become barbers and do-it-yourself stylists, as hair salons across the country have temporarily closed to maintain measures of social distancing.
Monique Campbell, owner of Endless Extensions in Dallas, told the Dallas Morning News that the closure is financially stressful, but she understands the situation.
“By asking a stylist to come see you or go to their house, it’s always a very high risk,” she said, the report said. “I don’t want to put myself in danger [of catching the coronavirus] just to make sure someone’s hair is pretty. “