back to list

COVID-19 trends: What will sell out next?

From essentials to entertainment in global shortages


What's going on?

For each passing month of the COVID-19 pandemic, another item has become extremely short in supply. From stockpiling essentials to seeking new forms of entertainment, what will be next in line to achieve a sold-out status this 2020?


Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, shops worldwide began to put up signs informing the public that masks and sanitizers were out of stock as a result of medical professionals repeatedly stressing the importance of hand hygiene and face coverings. For instance, a production center in South Korea that produced 30 million face masks in 2019, manufactured about 19 million by the end of February 2020 alone. The United Kingdom also saw a 255% year-on-year increase for hand sanitizer sales in the same month.


However, panic-buying took an unexpected turn, and toilet paper became the world’s next stockpiling target. Although the need for toilet rolls in sustaining human life is close to zero, Americans spent $1.4 billion on rolls in March alone, which is a 102% increase from the same period in 2019. With the spike in sales being nationwide and open-ended, it is uncertain as to whether or not the system can rebound.


Fast-forward to April, over 40 countries are in full or partial lockdown, and people are increasingly desperate in need of a distraction from the global health crisis. As a result, the hybrid videogame console Nintendo Switch, used either as a handheld device or connected to your television, is experiencing a shortage in supply for the first time since its release in 2017. They are sold out on major online retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and GameStop, with third-party sellers selling them for up to double the original price. Nintendo reported that sales have jumped by more than 150% since March – thanks to the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


How the Covid-19 pandemic caused a global Nintendo Switch shortage