With many people working from home and options for entertainment outside the house limited, Americans had to get creative with how they spent their time in lockdown. Some people turned to streaming (remember “Tiger King”?) or baking (it seemed like everyone made their own sourdough), while others picked up new hobbies like gardening or knitting.
As we hit the one-year anniversary of pandemic lockdowns, take a look back at some of the most popular lockdown hobbies — plus, how much they cost.
- Cost: $10.99 for a San Francisco-style sourdough starter
Baking was such a popular quarantine hobby that there was actually a yeast shortage. Some people opted to make their own sourdough, some got fancy and made focaccia art, and others returned to the everlasting baking staple, banana bread.
- Cost: $5.99 for the “Quarantine Coloring Book”
Coloring has been a popular pandemic hobby among children and adults alike. Scott Ward, national sales manager of Coloring Book Solutions, told the Advertising Specialty Institute at the start of the pandemic that his company had been “slammed with orders.”
Not only is coloring an inexpensive, screen-free activity, but it can also help relieve stress.
“Coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment,” Ward said. “Concentrating on coloring an image may facilitate the replacement of negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones.”
- Cost: Varies
Both Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts have seen a surge in sales over the pandemic, with Michaels shares surging 300% over the past year, The New York Times reported.
DIY Home Improvements
- Cost: $1,365 to repair a patio, on average, according to HomeAdvisor
A survey conducted by Porch.com in July 2020 found that 76% of homeowners in the United States had carried out at least one home improvement project since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the most popular projects being landscaping and gardening, renovating or building a patio, renovating the structure of the house, repainting walls, adding new flooring and renovating bathrooms. Americans cited having more free time as their No. 1 motivation for taking on this new hobby.
- Cost: $199.95 for Click and Grow’s The Smart Garden 9
Many people who had never tried their hand at gardening before started growing their own produce in so-called “COVID gardens” as a way to stay busy while also creating their own self-sufficient supply of fresh veggies. Even apartment-dwellers got into the hobby by buying indoor herb gardens.
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- Cost: $12.99 for the Boye “I Taught Myself to Knit” Kit
Knitting is known to be a stress reliever, so it’s no surprise it became a popular hobby amid the pandemic lockdowns.
“It’s very much part of the human condition to go back to basics,” Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a Hollywood costume designer and fashion scholar, told The New York Times. “In the joy of making something you can wear yourself, whether it’s a mask or a sweater, there’s an enormous feeling of confidence — in that ability to be self-reliant.”
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Playing Video Games
- Cost: $59.99 for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”
Many Americans turned to video games to pass the time, relax and even socialize (remember the “Animal Crossing” phase of the lockdowns?). According to Marketwatch, videogames became a bigger industry than movies and North American sports combined last year due to the pandemic, with global gaming sales rising 20% to nearly $180 billion in 2020.
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- Cost: $29.99 for a 1,000-piece “Happiness Puzzle”
Another screen-free activity that became a go-to was assembling jigsaw puzzles.
“There’s a global shortage of puzzles actually,” Brian Way, co-owner of the online retailer Puzzle Warehouse, told NPR in November 2020. “There’s not a factory on the planet that is not months behind on production.”
- Cost: $8.99 for a basic monthly membership
In 2020, Netflix added 36.6 million streaming customers, Variety reported. Some of the most popular shows on the platform in 2020 were “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Office,” “Ozark” — and yes, “Tiger King,” Forbes reported.
- Cost: $1,895 and up for a Peloton bike
With gyms closed, many people upped their home gyms by stocking up on weights, treadmills and stationary bikes, including prestige-y Pelotons. Peloton was expected to make roughly $1.8 billion in sales for 2020 — about double its $910 million in sales the company made in 2019, according to JPMorgan.
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