The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on the sales of almost every category of retail goods. Some have seen their sales surge by leaps and bounds, while others have seen very little or even negative growth. Stressed supply chains, stay-at-home orders by governments, and shifts in demand for some product categories have forced shoppers to shop in new ways. Following are analyses of how different product categories have fared compared to last year.

Health Products

Expectedly, the demand for health and hygiene products has risen massively. While disposable gloves saw a 670% increase year-on-year, there was a 260% increase in demand for paper towels, hand soaps and hand sanitizers. Women’s health products have seen a 215% rise as compared to March 2019.


Cough and cold medicines were 535% more in demand this March compared to March 2019. With the increased focus on immunity, vitamins, minerals, and supplements have also witnessed a steep rise in sales for the same time period. Products related to digestion and nausea have had a 144% growth in sales, along with a massive 232% spike in allergy medicines.


Stay-at-home directives and restaurant closures have forced people to cook for themselves. There was a whopping 652% increase in demand for bread machines, coupled with a hike in demand for baking ingredients. Soups, food grains and packaged foods registered around a 380% surge in year-on-year demand. Milk and cream, and dishwashing supplies also saw a rise in demand of more than 275%. Following the trend of healthy eating, dry fruit and nutrition bars have also seen an upsurge in sales.


Soap and body wash have seen a 194% boost in sales. A 100% rise has been observed in the sales of nail care, deodorants, and skincare. The frequent demand for hand washing has led to the ripple effect of more hand care products being created by cosmetics companies. The sales for hair colouring products have shot up by 115%.


More people than ever have begun working from home, resulting in a 62% drop in demand for mens’ formal wear. Fewer people are out getting married, which has caused a 63% drop in demand for bridal clothing. Since people are still pursuing a work-from-home model, clothing companies have shifted their focus towards the production of loungewear. As a whole, the apparel market saw a drop in YOY demand of around 4% in March, followed by a recovery of 39% in April. In May, the industry had a healthy 54% increase in YOY demand.

Travel Goods

With domestic and international travel coming to a standstill, the demand for travel-related goods has dropped significantly. Luggage, suitcases and briefcases were 77% less sought by buyers this March. Compared to March 2019, cameras and men’s swimwear were 64% less in demand, with women’s swimwear showing a 59% decrease in demand. In May however, these trends reversed themselves along with the uptick in hotel and air travel bookings.

Sporting Goods

A 59% decrease in requirement for athletic shoes and gym bags compared to March of 2019, tells us that people had even begun exercising within their homes. However, other sporting goods were more in demand by almost 90%. As people grew accustomed to the new norms they began building home gyms and purchasing equipment. The 154% growth in the sales of yoga equipment also affirms this fact. In April, the demand for sporting goods surged by 220% compared to April 2019. The rise in demand came down slightly in May with an increase of 169%. Equipment for outdoor activities such as golf, volleyball, equestrian sports, hiking,  and camping saw a significant decline in sales

Arts and Entertainment

This segment has seen a 136% increase YOY in order count from e-commerce stores, during May 2020. Page views for toys and games escalated by 149% for the same month. For March 2020, craft kits and paints underwent a steady rise but musical instruments and party supplies witnessed a sharp decline.

Overall Analysis

In the past 3 months, April had the highest growth in sales, far outpacing March. With May showing an 83% YOY increase compared to the 96% during April, buying behaviour amongst consumers slowed down but still remained substantially high. The relaxation of lockdown rules in various regions of the world has led to a change in buying patterns. Before the pandemic, shoppers had a tendency to browse more and buy less but that pattern saw a reversal during the month of April. There has also been an increment in the submission of questions and reviews for various products, which is a convenient change for future consumers.



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