The market research company said that for the week ending March 7, sales of freezers were up 90% in volume and 71% in value compared with the same week last year. This was driven mostly by chest freezers, which shot up 202% in value compared with the same week last year, while uprights grew 37.7%. Last week alone saw almost a fifth of the total freezer sales so far in 2020. To put this into context, the major domestic sector as a whole was up by 4.5% volume and 3% in value.
With increasing concerns around COVID 19, consumers are building increased food supplies in their homes. Whilst this started with toilet paper and dry goods such as pasta and rice, increasingly there is a need to stockpile a wider range of foods to create meal solutions.
Home office equipment has also seen a boost in sales, with office chairs jumping 13.3% compared with the same week last year, and office desks rising by 5.1%. Keyboards, mice and headsets also saw positive week-on-week and year-on-year growth, especially since the end of February, as the COVID-19 threat becomes more prevalent.
Michael McLaughlin, vice president of retail at GfK, commented: “While predicting the full effect of the virus on the markets is complex, fears of forced isolation and social distancing are clearly impacting sales in selected categories. As seen in China, there are likely to be medium term opportunities within online especially, which increased to over 42% of market sales for durables in the week ending March 7.”