First it was toilet paper, then it was hand sanitisers and face masks.
Consumer shopping habits, according to reports from some of our country’s biggest retailers, have found that there is a surge in demand for some strange items during different stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the big boys like Myer have closed their doors, the online retail market is booming. Customers have found solace in browsing online to get their retail therapy fix.
Not surprisingly, items like home office and gym equipment are flying out the door, and these are some of the most popular things consumers are ordering, while they work from home.
But there is still one thing that is missing from our shelves – flour. Plain, self-raising and even gluten free flour has vanished from the shelves of the supermarkets.
While most of us are practicing social distancing, we have turned to pass times of yesteryear. We have put down our phones, and turned off Netflix (mind you, only for a few hours). And we have turned to the beloved art of baking.
Social media has been awash in people sharing their baking masterpieces.
According to CNBC Making It, as of last Friday, the hashtag #stressbaking had over 26,000 posts on Instagram, while #quarantinebaking had nearly 12,000.
Cakes, cookies, muffins and mille-feuilles not only bring satisfaction to the tummy and tastebuds, but also to the mind.
Julie Ohana, a culinary art therapist says that cooking helps people communicate and manage stress through this bizarre time.
“I do love that in these crazy times so many people are turning to their kitchens,” Ms Ohana told CNBC Make It.
“When times are turned on its head, we look for ways to cope,” she says.
“So, the heart of the explanation is that cooking, and baking bring comfort. Baking a loaf of bread, some cookies, etc is so basic but fills such a void.
“The process helps aid the baker and the finished product helps comfort the person or people receiving the delicious outcome.”
So while the flour is flying off the shelves, a spokesperson from Myer told The Sydney Morning Herald that spending on beauty, particularly skincare, has jumped 200 per cent, compared to the same period last year.
Other things that are high on the list include sleepwear, bras and undies as well, as well as sweats and track pants according to Country Road.
David Jones, who have a few of their department stores still open, said audio visual and entertainment products and home appliances like bread makers and coffee machines are also flying off the shelves.
Myer has also reported that there is a 475 per cent increase in demand for Lego, board games and puzzles.
Managing director of eBay Australia, Tim MacKinnon, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald he was been surprised to see significant changes as the pandemic worsened.
“The first stage was health-related products, more vitamins, hand sanitiser, face masks. That’s still strong now, but not as strong as it was,” he said.
“The next phase was pantry preparation, groceries, toilet paper, all the panic buying. Then the phase we went through a few weeks ago was people getting ready for quarantine, so we saw huge growth in home technology and home office goods.”
“Then we saw the restricted living phase, people realising they can’t go out. So that was sporting equipment, dumbbells, puzzles, and board games.”
Interest in dog breeders has also skyrocketed up to 111 per cent across NSW.
And for the beer drinkers missing their weekly meetings at the pubs, Aussies are also starting to buy home brewing kits.