What weird items did we buy during the pandemic?
VANCOUVER -- While many retailers have failed during the pandemic, some have thrived. And some of the hottest selling items could come as a bit of a surprise.
As expected, consumers have been spending furiously on electronics. Sales of laptops, Chromebooks and other accessories for home networking are up 150 per cent. But Best Buy has seen some unusual trends as well.
The retailer reports that sales of freezers exploded this year, with the company selling four times at many as usual, likely the result of early stockpiling with a lot of unknowns about supply shortages.
Sales of personal care products, like electric toothbrushes, doubled as dental offices closed and people took better care of their teeth to avoid unwanted problems.
In addition, strange items like smart furniture became popular.
“You hear about it, you think it’s kind of fringe and then when you start looking into it you’re like, that’s actually a pretty cool item,” said Anjee Gill, communications specialist with Best Buy.
So what exactly is smart furniture? It can be a coffee table or a side table with LED programmable lights, a cooling drawer, wireless charging, USB ports, power supply, built-in speakers and cool mid-century design. Until recently, it was a non-existent product category for Best Buy. Now the company says smart furniture is in high demand.
“What was actually really surprising for us was drones,” Gill said.
Drone sales are up 60 per cent. Perhaps during COVID consumers feel it is the only safe way to fly.
Stuck at home and taking matters in into their own hands has also caused a spike in sales of bread makers, up 140 per cent. And smart gardening products like Click and Grow had sales up 50 per cent.
Best Buy saw overall sales increase 23 per cent in the third quarter of this year compared to the same time last year and if that's any indication, the tech supplier could close out the year with a strong finish.