The businesses that have thrived from lockdown restrictions

It’s scary to think of how many businesses have been affected by the pandemic—particularly those within the hospitality, travel and leisure sectors.

12/10/20

Diane Hall

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As we were—and, in some areas, continue to be—confined to our homes, our spending habits had to alter. Experiences had no choice but to be virtual and items that provided some escapism from daily life proved popular.


A woman from Worcestershire found sales of her product rocketed through lockdown. Jade Stanley sells sex dolls and she claims her products were not only ordered for stress relief and, well, you know, but also to provide company. Jade claims that her dolls are viewed by some customers in the same way a pet would, providing companionship and a focus for lonely individuals. She says, ‘I have customers who buy dolls to just sit in the chair or lie in a bed. Social media has made people interactive online but not outside; (my dolls provide) a Covid-safe way of having psychical interaction with someone. It brings a lot of comfort to people; if that’s what they want to do, who are we to judge?’


The publishing industry saw a boom earlier in the year as we turned to fantasy worlds and fictional scenarios for excitement and relief from news about the virus. Book sales soared, both physical and digital.


Perhaps it’s no surprise to learn that providers of hand sanitiser have had a good few months. Some companies diversified to make their own version when sales of their typical product slowed; one gin brewery made up their own version of sanitiser. Given that effective solutions to combat the virus need to contain 70% alcohol, this isn’t much of a stretch for a brewery.


According to statistics, many of us became gamblers during the pandemic. Whilst we may not have the time or inclination to play slot machines when we’re not in lockdown and running from one thing to another, once the pace of things slowed down and we couldn’t go out, online apps featuring slot-machine-type games appeared to provide relief from corona. 


Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime kept us entertained during lockdown.

Streaming network Netflix blew its competitors out of the water during the second quarter of the year. If you didn’t see Tiger King, did you actually survive the pandemic?! Whilst Hollywood and even British soaps were restricted from filming new content due to lockdown restrictions, the back catalog of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime kept us all entertained.


The supermarkets, perhaps surprisingly, though reporting better-than-average sales during the pandemic, didn’t make as much profit as one may have envisaged. Still, they provided the highlight (or the nightmare) of the week, given that they were the only places we were allowed to visit during lockdown. Many restaurants, unable to open under their normal guise, adapted to operating as takeaways. Food delivery services were popular as was the ordering of the weekly shop online.


Decorating supplies were in demand, too. Being stuck in the house was the impetus for many people to revamp their rooms and overhaul their gardens. Once B&Q reopened with their ‘Click and Collect’ service, which was quite early on compared to other shops, they were swamped with orders. Later in the year, once the council tips were active again, people were keen to get rid of rubbish from their home improvements, with some waiting more than two hours to access waste sites.


Now that most businesses in all sectors have reopened, it would be interesting to see if the winners of the lockdown are still seeing such high sales. Have our tastes and spending habits changed for good, or did these companies enjoy a surge in sales simply because the general public was deprived of other options?


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