The corona restrictions came with a bang and increased the time spent at home. Certain sectors benefited from this phenomenon in the form of a strong growth in sales. We can even talk about corona winners. When the restrictive measures are dismantled and consumers' everyday lives return to what they were before the pandemic, some corona winners are facing weaker sales trends.
Hardware stores faced an almost tenfold growth due to the restrictions
In practice, the corona pandemic temporarily prevented the use of many services. Cinemas, concerts, restaurants, and package travel were some of the services affected. Some of the unused money was left in accounts and some was spent on other things.
The long days at home gave us a reason to fix things that needed fixing, and, at the same time, we had to get lunch from somewhere else than the workplace cafeteria. We had to find new things to do in the evenings. The effects are clearly reflected in the statistics. Compared to previous years, there was a clear increase in the amount of money spent on home improvements (hardware stores), groceries (grocery stores) or office desks (furniture).
One man's loss became another man's gain. In the aforementioned sectors, the sales volumes, that is the sales after price changes have been adjusted, saw exceptionally strong growth last year. For example, the sales volume of hardware stores increased by 6 per cent in 2020, compared to an increase of only 0.7 per cent the year before. At the same time, the growth rate of grocery trade shoot from the meagre 0.2 per cent to 5.3 per cent.
Consumers will not stay in corona mood forever
Vaccinations are progressing swiftly despite the slow start. The economy is improving, and at the same time, there is an active discussion on lifting the restrictions. It remains to be seen what the new everyday life after the pandemic looks like. However, our everyday life during the pandemic is not the new normal and the same applies to consumption. Remote working will partly continue, but the furniture of the home office does not longer have to be renewed. Customer noise will return to workplace cafeterias, albeit in a calmer form. The return to everyday life is thus reflected in the sales of different sectors, and all corona winners cannot expect the good times to continue.
Lasse Corin lasse.corin(at)aktia.fi