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 jumped 304% this month compared with the first two weeks of February according to Slickdeals. (The firm’s data also showed searches for toilet paper were still high — up 7,000%.) At New York-based bidet startup Tushy, “Sales have been up about [tenfold], which is pretty crazy,” CEO Jason Ojalvo told the New York Post.


In San Francisco, business was brisk at gun stores last week amid the state’s shelter-in-place order to stem the tide of new Covid-19 cases. And there are signs that sales of guns and ammo are increasing nationwide. As one customer told the San Francisco Chronicle, “If society is unraveling, it’s up to us to protect ourselves.”

Similarly, archery and bowhunting website Archer’s Supplies witnessed a sudden spike in sales on various types of bows, crossbows, and other hunting equipment. Says Oleg Donets, CEO and founder of ODMsoft, a web marketing agency, “People are preparing for…



Jennifer Alsever
Writer for

I write. Journalist and author of weird, but awesome young adult fiction.