More than a quarter of the world’s population are at home right now. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of them.
Following the “circuit breaker” measures that have taken effect earlier this week along with the announcement that it may be extended beyond 4 May if the COVID-19 situation does not improve, the prospect of being confined at home for weeks has seen people embark on work-from-home (WFH) and other activities ranging from video calling with friends and relatives, to playing video games, and even picking up household duties like cooking and cleaning.
What’s more, the growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore has had an impact on online consumer behaviour.
Now that movement is somewhat restricted in Singapore, consumers have been turning online to purchase items.
As such, iPrice Group was able to observe really unique and unexpected items consumers were interested in after analysing more than hundreds of thousands of shoppers on its website.
Interestingly, some of the unexpected – and bizarre to some extent – products that Singaporeans were searching for includes condoms, webcams, video games, and many more.
1. Singaporeans practicing safe-sex
It is hardly surprising that vitamin C, face masks, and soaps/hand sanitisers are primarily what people were looking for online. But how often do we see Singaporeans searching high and low for condoms too? iPrice’s data showed that searches for condoms shot up to 67 per cent in the week of 23 March.
As a full-fledged protective gear to prevent unplanned pregnancies, Singapore might brace for lack of condom products due to the recent closing of condom manufacturing plants. This might probably cause the birth rates to go high if the supply of condom is low.
Let’s just hope no one becomes xia suay enough to buy a stockpile of condoms.
2. Consumers scrambling to set up a home office
Though Singaporeans are socially distancing from each other, being socially connected with close family, friends, and colleagues via online has been at an all-time high. Driving this new norm, consumers recorded great interest in electronic items like webcams, Wi-Fi routers, printers, and keyboards.
According to the study, there is an 85 per cent increase in searches for webcams and 99 per cent for Wi-Fi routers in the week of 23 March and 29 March. On the other hand, the increase of search interests for keyboards and printers also jumped by 137 per cent and 67 per cent respectively.
Fair to say many Singaporeans are looking to level up their WFH experience with somewhat of an office set-up at the comfort of their homes, or at least attempt to remain connected to the outside world virtually.
3. Contagious rise of gaming
No doubt the gaming industry today has experienced immense attention as people are looking for more ways to stay entertained at home.
In fact, even the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended playing video games as a safety measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, despite the organisation previously classified video game addiction as an official mental disorder in 2019.
As such, iPrice’s data revealed that entertainment items such as video games consoles and TV were recorded to have the highest searches during this COVID-19 period. Safe to deduce that many Singaporeans have turned to gaming as the new digital hangout option.
Observing gaming related items like PS4 and Nintendo Switch since 1 March and 12 March, the data showed that PS4 and Nintendo Switch noted an amazing improvement in interest by 713 per cent and 57 per cent respectively, while TV experienced over 35 per cent increase in searches.
4. The rush to prepare for home cooking
Now that most Singaporeans are cooped up in their homes, this presents an exciting opportunity to try out new recipes and home-made food after getting bored with packed foods. The study unveiled that the interest of searches for cooking equipment such as cookware, dish racks, and rice dispensers grew by 57 per cent.
Practising good hygiene at home is also of paramount importance amid this pandemic. Hence, Singaporeans seemed to be searching for disinfectant related items – such as Dettol – more than ever with a massive 127 per cent increase in searches.
After all, it makes sense for average households to stock up on hygiene products to ensure a clean environment at home.
5. Caffeine & booze to help get through the pandemic
With “stay at home” being the new mantra, scheduling regular breaks for stepping out of the metaphorical bubble of isolation is very much needed – to ensure work efficiency as well as one’s sanity.
As it turns out, a handful of Singaporeans were looking for coffee and alcohol to perhaps create an experience of re-grouping after spending time on tasks at home, which inadvertently suggests that these items are pretty essential in the midst of crisis.
iPrice’s data indicated that the increase in searches for coffee was recorded a 107 per cent upsurge growth in interest, followed by alcohol that experienced a 47 per cent increase as well.