Popular Lockdown Buys

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

While some shoppers spent on stockpiling food initially, many are now hunting for things to make, do, and drink indoors, says John Lewis, the UK retailer loved by the middle classes. If you haven't considered one of these popular buys, maybe you should - to help you through the lockdown days ahead.

Tequila and tipples

Since pubs and bars have shut their doors, many "have-a-go" bartenders have been trying their hand at home (one of the 10 telltale signs that you might be a middle class lockdown cliché). According to Waitrose, sales of tequila increased by more than 175% between 24 March and the end of April.

John Vine, a spirits buyer at the supermarket chain said: "People are shopping for more unusual ingredients such as tequila or triple sec to make that perfect drink for staying in."

Distilled spirits sales rise 32% during lockdown, led by Tequila and Irish whiskey, says research specialist Nielsen. Overall alcohol sales in supermarkets and corner shops jumped by 27% in the four weeks to 19 April, according to consumer analysts Kantar.

Workout gear

Bloomberg reports that Peloton sales have jumped 66% and eBay says that Activewear – which often doubles up as lounge wear – is up by 50%, one of the few fashion winners.

Many people have been rolling out of bed to join in with Joe Wicks workouts as they're no longer able to get to the gym. It may come as little surprise then that sales of gym equipment are increasing. John Lewis says it has seen a rise of 496%, with yoga mats and ankle weights selling quickly.

Make-up & self-tanning

As lockdown has meant much of Britain is now working from home, people are now spending more on looking "camera ready" for their next zoom session. According to John Lewis, customers have been investing in colourful makeup palettes, up 57%, and self-tanning products have risen 41% since 24 March.

Make-up sales, or "affordable luxuries" often see a boost in times of recession, while other non-essential items might not, says independent retail expert Kate Hardcastle.

"While many have refreshed their make-up and picked up a treat in lockdown, some of the sales can be firmly attributed to many getting ready for much more heightened presence on social media during this time too," she adds.

But, presumably, when we all have to go out with face masks, lipstick sales will falter.

Luxury bedding

Being cooped up at home has also meant that some have opted to make home improvements. According to John Lewis, the warm weather between 5 and 11 April drove demand on its websites for items such as pressure washers, whilst eBay reports that hot tub sales are up 480%.

Since lockdown measures were introduced, it's also seen luxury bedding sales more than double.

Those trends are reflected in a recent survey by market research firm Mintel, which suggests that 11% of adults expect to spend more on home and garden products in May. Jack Duckett, a lifestyle specialist at the company, said this was the case among young people in particular.

"This group is typically very outgoing, with highly active social lives and prior lockdown probably spent very little time at home. As their social activities have been curtailed, it follows that many are now diverting some of the money they would have been spent on socialising out of the home, on making their homes more 'Instagramable'."


Retailer John Lewis has also seen a huge increase in sales of elastic, which was attributed to people making their own face masks.

Last week, US retailer Etsy said it had spotted a similar trend. The online crafts marketplace said it saw a "dramatic shift" in demand in April. It sold more than 12 million cloth masks last month, totalling about $133m (£107.5m) in sales.