The Unlikely Products Selling Out Because of Coronavirus

The pandemic is altering short-term shopper behavior — and retailers can’t keep up

Jennifer Alsever
Published in
4 min readMar 24, 2020


An illustration of a man wearing a face mask, surrounded by a stockpile of toilet paper, weapons ammo, kettlebells, and cans.
Illustration: Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia

TThe coronavirus lockdown has businesses reeling, with countless companies anticipating steep sales declines and some entire industries at risk. And yet some items are still flying off the shelves in this new work-from-home (and do-everything-else-from-home) world — and it’s not just toilet paper and hand sanitizer. A wide variety of products, from sporting goods to appliances, have suddenly become hot ticket items.

Here are some of the surprising products that are selling out and what it says about the current mentality of shoppers.


You wouldn’t think a pandemic would be the time you’d start shopping for appliances, but plenty of people went in search of them this month. In particular, they wanted freezers — the better to stockpile food. Freezer searches climbed 440% this month compared with the first two weeks of February according to data by Slickdeals, an online coupon company that monitors e-commerce shopping traffic.


When all the toilet paper sold out at grocery stores, shoppers began hunting for another solution: bidets. Searches for the bathroom fixture…