No one saw it coming, but the pandemic hit us right in the face and has changed our lives forever. Not only has it impacted how we travel, socialise and improved our hygiene routines, but also the way we live our lives, how we speak to others, how we take care of ourselves and our loved ones. In this retrospective look at the turmoil of last year, PriceRunner uncovers the biggest trends of 2020 through data analysis, finding out just how the pandemic changed our lives.
Few things have ever affected the world as much in such a short space of time as the ongoing pandemic, showing how much countries rely on each other for everything from the delivery of basic goods, medicines, to toilet paper, pasta and fresh fruit and vegetables.
PriceRunner took a look at how the pandemic changed the behaviour of the millions of people visiting their site last year and the products they searched for, telling a story through graphs of what the most interesting trends were that shaped 2020.
We never stopped dreaming
The first lockdown put an abrupt stop to travelling, with searches for a new suitcase or bag plummeting as a result. However, our spirits seemed to lift as summer approached and the hope of returning to a new normal grew stronger. New restrictions in July dampened spirits once again, but when talks of a vaccine grew louder our dreams of being able to fly away on holiday took over once again.
The importance of self-care
Did we get a little bit dirtier in lockdown? Probably not. But PriceRunner’s data suggests that searches for things like deodorants, soaps, hair removal products and skin cleansers saw a steep plummet at the first lockdown and never recovered. This could mean that time and money usually spent on, what some might say “superficial necessities”, was spent on things we found more important, like workout gear and quality coffee machines.
Taking matters into own hands
Without being able to meet up, go on dates or socialise in almost any way, our (love) lives were quite dull last year, to say the least. As one of our most visible trends of 2020, the popularity for sex toys reached new hights month after month, with searches increasing by 2200% between February to December. You could say that we decided to take matters into our own hands, quite literally.
Beach 202- when?
Another clear trend of the year just passed was the home gym. We went absolutely crazy for exercise equipment and other things to keep us fit and healthy at home. The first lockdown created an unprecedented surge in things like free weights, dumbbells and exercise mats. The initial spike cooled off slowly during the summer as we stocked up on equipment and were able to work out outside.
Levelling up on home tech
Apart from an initial spike during the first lockdown, tables and televisions followed a remarkably similar trend in 2020 as we spent more time at home working, watched things on the telly, played video games and connected with loved ones digitally. 2020 was the year we upgraded our home tech more than never before, where the end of year sale seasons and new lockdowns created a remarkable growth in tech popularity.
Another tangible Covid effect has been the popularity of web cameras. As we entered the first lockdown, many were forced to work from home and we weren’t able to visit or talk to loved ones in person, creating a huge need for better visual tech than what comes built into devices. Searches for web cameras increased by 387% just between March and April.
Things that kept us entertained
Please put your hand up if you haven’t been baking banana bread to try and beat lockdown boredom. A big part of 2020 was spent trying to keep ourselves entertained while spending an incredible amount of time at home. PriceRunner found that arts and crafts saw a huge revival in 2020, with things like the scrapbooking pal Cricut Maker Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine, the Faber-Castell Polychromos Color Pencil Tin and the Bison Colle Textile Glue being some of the most popular products in the category.
Something else following the lockdown pattern was jigsaw puzzles. This somewhat old- fashioned form of entertainment saw an incredible revival in the first lockdown, with a second smaller push after summer when the third lockdown was announced. Some of the most popular puzzles of 2020 were the Ravensburger The Best Disney Themes 1000 Pieces, Clementoni High Quality Collection Panorama Disney Orchestra 1000 Pieces and the Ravensburger Disney Collector's Edition Cinderella 1000 Pieces. Is it just a fad or a trend that’s here to stay?
Things that kept us safe
The final (and unsurprising) contender on the 2020 top list was a dominating item in 2020 – face masks. Just between February and April, the category work clothes saw an increase of 1712%, where face masks accounted for a majority of the increase. Models from 3M were the most popular choice, with the 3M 9332 Face Mask FFP3 10-pack clearly on top, second place went to the 3M 8833 Disposable Respirator FFP3 Valved 10-pack and in third place came the 3M 9332 Face Mask FFP3 10-pack.
What will dominate the list in 2021? Find out by following PriceRunner’s newsroom for more of the latest news, trend updates and exciting tips.
PriceRunner is the UK's independent price comparison service with over 1,600,000 products from more than 5,000 retailers. PriceRunner was founded in 1999 and is primarily active in Sweden, Denmark and the UK. We are a team of 150 ambitious PriceRunners who work to develop the most loved service for comparison shopping. PriceRunner is completely independent; we are not owned by or dependent on any manufacturer, retailer or other organisation that might have an interest in providing biased information. PriceRunner's mission is to help consumers find better products and better prices. Every month we help hundreds of thousands of consumers to find better, cheaper products and save money by comparing prices for a particular product.