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You Will NEVER Guess What Americans are Spending the Most Money On in This Pandemic

The past weeks have witnessed the stockpiling for basics like groceries and household items as more Americans prepare for the lockdown period caused by the coronavirus outbreak. However, there has been a sea-change in priorities for Americans. After the toilet paper shopping frenzy, more people are now online shopping for books. There has been a surge in online shopping as people are now forced to stay at home.

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They have bid goodbye to the typical trips to the store for the time being and are slowly embracing the realities of the new normal during the extended quarantine period. In addition to the overall growth of e-commerce spending, sales data reveal that American online shoppers have shifted focus to buying more books and games in a bid to entertain themselves while remaining shut at home. There is now a surge of online splurging due to stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic.

Online Purchases

E-commerce spending in USA grew by more than 30% from 1st March through mid-April. This is a significant spurt in growth compared to the same period last year. Market research firms say that this growth is over 50% more than the average annual growth in recent years, which remained at 20%. This data reveals what Americans are now buying and the shifting priorities of shoppers during the lockdown. This figure contrasts sharply with the recent data for retail sales in U.S.A, including data of brick-and-mortar businesses.

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In March, sales declined by 8.7%, the biggest drop recorded since the government started monitoring sales data in 1992. The surge in online orders was initially driven by the demand for staples. As per retail analysts, there was a huge stockpiling in March, when states resorted to stay-at-home orders. Most in-demand items which are usually bought in bulk, were health products, home office equipment, and pet supplies. During the early stages of the pandemic, people piled up groceries and cleaning supplies.

From Basics to Books

Experts foresaw a panic-buying trend when the outbreak was new and unfamiliar to the people. Now that people had adjusted, they are focused on different needs as people have realized that things are edging to a new normalcy and are thinking beyond the basics of food and shelter. Comparing the fortnightly data during the 1st half of March prior to stay-at-home orders and during the 1st half of April, huge increases were seen in entertainment-related e-commerce as people look for ways to keep occupied during the quarantine. Book purchases went up by 777%, toys and games followed at 182%, sports equipment rose by 131%, while demand for home decor and health and beauty aids increased by 71% and 38% respectively.

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Online shopping demand shifted to books and entertainment items and online spending on cleaning supplies and grocery items reduced by 25% in the 1st fortnight of April. This is low when compared to the 100% annual growth rate. The slowdown is that finding such essential items on the Internet is harder to find. Consumers are struggling financially with 36 million people filing for unemployment amidst the pandemic. Those who are able to afford, now reach beyond the basics to find ways to pass time. This trend towards self-improvement may continue in the next few months.

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