Pandemic purchasing

Pandemic purchasing

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With around half of Australia’s population currently either in lockdown or adhering to public health restrictions, it should come as no surprise that we Aussies find creative ways in which to amuse ourselves.

So, confined to our homes with access to physical stores severely restricted, many of us are turning to online shopping to help stave off our boredom.

Which perhaps goes some of the way towards explaining why a Gold Coast teenager found herself a viral sensation recently after discovering an oddly shaped chip among her Doritos packet.

Having documented her discovery on her social media platforms where it attracted upwards of three million views, she then listed the unique offering up on e-commerce site eBay for the princely sum of $0.99.

Within days, bidding for the chip had exploded to more than $20,000!

We really shouldn’t be surprised by the news given that research by oOh!media’s Junkee after the last lockdown in Sydney showed cat clothes, a Thor wig and mask, Joe Exotic credit card skin and a make your own alpaca kit were just some of the obscure items that Australians purchased during the last period of isolation.

In its March 2021 report Lockdown: one year on, eBay says the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many Australians change the way they shop in recent months.

In addition to seeing an extra million people visiting the site each month, eBay found that those who were already shopping online before the pandemic are now doing it more often across a greater number of categories.

In February 2021, for example, sales of video game consoles were up 342 per cent during the five-day West Australian lockdown while sales of kitchen gadgets increased by 60 per cent during the five-day Victorian lockdown.

With everyone spending more time at home, the online marketplace also saw a significant rise in sales of toys, puzzles and video games.

The closure of gyms and extra time at home drove Aussie to get outdoors and get into shape, as shoppers bought four times as much running, yoga and training equipment than they had the previous March.

Fishing equipment also proved in high demand, with sales increasing by 1,500 per cent and bike accessories more than doubling.

eBay says the numerous lockdowns Australians have experienced has also led many of us to start new hobbies or spend more time on existing interests.

Needlecraft proved popular during with sewing up by as much as 800 per cent while sales of collectible card games such as Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering were up by more than 12,000 per cent.

Unsurprisingly, the data also shows health has become a bigger shopping category for many of us during lockdown with online sales of masks in Australia rising more than 700,000 per cent in the year to March 2020.

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