3 things experiencing surging sales post-lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the consumer market on a scale unprecedented in modern times. With economies largely shut down to curb the spread of the coronavirus, consumer spending came to a sudden pause. In the UK, spending plummeted by a third during lockdown. But since restrictions started easing, pent-up demand has seen spending return to levels seen before the pandemic. July saw total retail sales rise by 3.2% compared to the same period in 2019. So, which products have been flying off the shelves post-lockdown?

1. Engagement rings

Despite the potentially claustrophobic nature of living with a partner during lockdown, it appears that this prolonged time together has actually strengthened many relationships. According to research by relationships charity Relate and online dating website eHarmony, almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents believe their relationship has become stronger throughout lockdown.

Furthermore, more than half of respondents (58%) claimed they now know they want to spend their lives with their loved one. This has naturally led to a rise in proposals, which in turn has caused demand for engagement rings to skyrocket. Many jewellers have reaped the rewards of this. Take bespoke ring specialists Taylor & Hart, who reported to Professional Jeweller magazine that they’d enjoyed an 82% rise in engagement ring sales in July compared to the same month last year.

2. Eye makeup

Now mandatory when travelling on public transport, going to the supermarket and even when visiting the cinema, the face mask has fast become “the world’s most coveted commodity”. With the lower half of our faces now largely covered when in public, our eyes have become the centre of attention when communicating. As a knock-on effect, there has been a surge in demand for eye makeup.

According to market analyst The NPD Group, there has been a 3% rise in eye makeup sales post-lockdown, with mascara and eye shadows particularly popular as more consumers look to accentuate their eyes. In contrast, sales of lip products have dropped by 12% since lockdown, showing a complete shift in consumer habits.

3. Cars

With the end of lockdown enabling car dealerships to open up again, demand for cars has soared. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that the number of new car registrations rose by 11.35% in July in comparison to June. A huge reason for this upsurge is likely the regained freedom to travel, combined with the desire to avoid public transport when doing so.

Many consumers will also have been tempted by special offers, with around eight out of 10 major manufacturers providing incentive deals for buyers in an attempt to entice them back to their stores. Seán Kemple, managing director at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “The car market was turned upside down in July. The bounce back from near-zero sales in April to an 11% uplift in July reflects the momentous release in pent-up demand that we’ve seen in the past couple of months.”