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A New Kind of Pandemic Buying Is Upon Us

With restrictions going away, personal grooming items are flying off the shelves
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2021 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – It wasn't that long ago we were reading about pandemic-triggered rushes on items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Two stories in the Wall Street Journal reflect how times have changed. For one thing, there's a now a glut of hand sanitizer on the market, so much so that supermarkets are struggling to move it from their shelves, according to the Journal. The second story, headlined "The Great American Cleanup," might be more telling: It catalogs a surge in sales for products related to personal grooming and the end of cooped-up living. Think deodorant, teeth-whitening gel, sunscreen, perfume, nail polish, swimsuits, luggage, and alarm clocks. The story notes that these sales aren't spiking as dramatically as the shortage-related sales in the worst of the pandemic, but they still reflect a clear trend as masks come off and people get together more.

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“Caring for oneself became a real personal and even introspective exercise, while other areas that relate more to presenting yourself to other people took a back seat,” says Eric O’Toole of Edgewell Personal Care Co., whose brands include Schick razors for men and women. “That’s beginning to shift back.” While increased sales of such items might not be a huge surprise, USA Today reports on another spike in a more unexpected area: multi-generational homes. Sales of houses where grandparents will live with their children and grandchildren, and perhaps an aunt and uncle or two, ticked up from 11% to 15% during the pandemic. The trend toward such living has generally been on the rise in recent years, but the pandemic appears to have accelerated it, writes Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy. (Read more pandemic stories.)

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