The Most Popular Big-Ticket Items Consumers Bought During COVID-19

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Mikolette / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Consumer confidence is on the rise, according to Reuters. A survey from the Conference Board in February showed that consumers are expecting economic and job recovery, with the number of vaccinated Americans increasing and new COVID-19 cases decreasing.

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This could mean spending on nonessentials will ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels; or potentially even higher, after a year of shutdowns and consumer insecurity. However, while Americans are warming up to international vacations, they’re cooling down on car, home and other big-ticket purchases, reported Reuters.

It was a very different story in 2020. Take a look at five things people were dropping a pretty penny on during the height of the pandemic.

Last updated: March 10, 2021

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The real estate market stayed hot through the worst of the pandemic — which is interesting, given the high unemployment rate and overall chaos of lockdown. But there are a few very key reasons why.

Primarily, interest rates went down. With a record-low rate of 2.65% in January, homeowners stand to save tens of thousands of dollars in interest, which is incentive enough. Secondarily, many families moved out of high-cost cities and settled down in the suburbs — a perk of remote work. This created a supply and demand problem that’s jacked up house prices across the country.

While many analysts anticipate a crash, for now, real estate continues to climb. The average sales price of a home in the U.S., as of Q4 2020, is $393,300.

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Used Cars

Although new car sales were down in 2020, there was an increased demand for used cars as people tried to avoid public transit while remaining price-conscious. This past summer reported the highest used car turnover in the last six years, according to Edmunds.com.

“We’re selling higher units today than we were pre-COVID,” ACV Auctions CEO George Chamoun told CNBC in October.

The latest data from Statista puts used car prices around $21,000, on average. That’s $16,000 less than the average new vehicle.

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Fitness Equipment

Popular fitness equipment companies — namely, Peloton — have been capitalizing on gym closures and scoring big during the pandemic. In Q4 of 2020, Peloton’s sales surged 172%, netting a total of $607.1 million for the year. The company reported 3.1 million members — 1.09 million of which pay $39 a month for equipment-synced workout classes.

Including delivery, buying a Peloton Bike in 2021 would run you $1,895.

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The Washington Post reported a higher number of online furniture shoppers in September — with consumers ordering everything from sofas to armchairs to dressers. Home improvement has been a popular hobby over the course of the pandemic, and oftentimes a makeover includes new furniture.

A nice sectional will cost you anywhere from $400 into the thousands on popular home-goods site Wayfair.

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Remember when we were all scrambling to get our hands on a roll of toilet paper? This supply problem — short-lived as it may have been — caused a sudden spike in U.S. bidet purchases.

In March and April of 2020, NPR and The Guardian felt the need to cover this peculiar topic; after all, bidets had long since been popular in Europe, but American consumers hadn’t shown much interest up to that point. The great part: aside from being more hygienic, bidets are also environmentally friendly, saving on both toilet paper and water.

If you’re considering a bidet, the actual receptacle will run you $300 to $500. Then there’s the price of installation — around $500, according to Fixr.com.

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