Australians will emerge from the cocoon of isolation as fresh-faced, bread-baking butterflies, according to our spending habits.
As key retailers begin to turn in their sales reports, we’re getting a picture of how Australians are spending their money during lockdown – and it’s kind of pretty.
Skincare product sales are soaring.
Myer reported a 600 per cent year-on-year increase in this area.
Of course, it’s difficult to tell at this stage if Australians are buying more skincare overall, or if it’s the same amount of sales just targeted to one seller, reflective of Myer’s brand power and recognition.
In particular, we’re buying face masks (not the healthy kind) at an increase of some 60 per cent, according to Adore Beauty.
With beauty salons and hairdressers closed, it makes sense we’re trying to do our ‘dos at home: Coles similarly reported a surge in sales of at-home hair colour.
- Related: Home-grooming guide for isolation
Figures released earlier in April showed the economic lipstick effect is once again coming into play. Just not with lipsticks.
Adore posted a 60 per cent spike in personal care products – but a 24 per cent drop in lipstick.
Instead we’re turning to other low-cost comfort items to keep us feeling warm and fuzzy, in a materialistic way.
The lipstick of the coronavirus period appears to be slippers, and comfortable clothing in general: The Iconic has reported a 800 per cent surge in slipper sales in the past fortnight alone, while Country Road, according to Nine Media, posted a surge in demand for what we’ll call lounge wear (trackies, sweat pants, knitwear).
Also, scented candles. Their sales are up 181 per cent.
DIY chefs aplenty
We’ve lost the ability to go out for dinner, and we’ve got plenty of time on our hands.
So of course we’re all returning to our roots and trying our hand in the kitchen.
One of the biggest trends has been bread baking. Particularly sourdough – just look at your Instagram feed.
View this post on Instagram
This is where it all starts – the magic behind sourdough fermentation 😍 Every starter is different – it has a terroir based on your own kitchen, air, flour, water, kitchen utensils, hands that feed it. Over time it will strengthen and you will become intimately in tune with it's behavior. Feed not according to anyone's specific instructions… You must watch your starter closely and feed accordingly. 🌾 I wanted to briefly discuss starter activity, and you can find a full tutorial up on my YouTube channel focusing on detail on how to Fully Activate a Starter prior to a bake… See the Linktree in my bio 😊 Bakers use their starters in different ways, but for me, I always strive to ensure mine is as active as possible before using as a levain… it can take awhile for a new born starter to become quite active and powerful – it takes time and patience. Stick with it and it will mature with age. See my answers to FAQ on this topic (also in bio link). 🌾 Generally, I like to see my starter at *max* activity: meaning it will at least triple in volume within a 4-6 hour window after a feed (note that every starter is different and will achieve a different "max peak" – the goal is to find the peak activity for your own starter). For me, this means a day or two of warm, rapid refreshments out of the refrigerator (see an example of my feeding regimen in that YouTube tutorial). I feed with a mix of 10% rye/90% bread flour, ensuring my starter is kept warm (~78°F) and fed always right at peak. Then, on bake day — I wake up early and feed my starter 1:1:1 (equal portions starter: flour: water) and then place somewhere warm (target 78-82°F). 🌾 I like to use my levain young, meaning I feed it around 7am and then let it rise to about ~95% max peak. 💡 I tend to use it *before* it's fully peaked and bubbly on the surface (see second photo), and while it still has lots of strength to it (it's not fully digested and fermented yet). Its surface looks domed/rounded on the surface rather than flat/concaved. This way it can also impart additional strength to your final dough! 👍 🌾 Good luck and happy Monday! 🌷🤗
A post shared by Full Proof Baking (@fullproofbaking) on
It was the start of April when searches for home-baking started to spike – carrot cake and banana bread kicked it off, followed by sourdough starter searches.
(Banana bread is still going strong – there’s even a banana bread baking contest going on.)
lots of grim stuff out there but there's never been a better time to be a black banana in a freezer. black bananas in freezers are actually going to get USED in BAKING this month instead of thrown out in a year and it's their TIME to SHINE
— Caitlin Welsh (@Caitlin_Welsh) March 17, 2020
Supermarkets pretty early on had to put a limit on how much flour and sugar customers could buy, to ensure everyone could partake in the joys of home cooking.
In buying power, our cooking obsession looks a little something like this: A 170 per cent increase in cooking appliances (Myer), an 88 per cent rise (get it?) for bread mix at Woolworths, and a 70 per cent boost for sales of dried herbs and spices, also at Woolies.
But we’re also fancying ourselves as sommeliers: Booze sales are up a worryingly whopping percentile.
In one week in March, our liquor store spending was up 87 per cent.
Staving off boredom
As well as inducting Zoom into our vocabularies, we’re getting old school with our activities.
Puzzles have not seen such popularity, spurred on by Prime Minister Scott Morrison declaring them an essential service.
— Mia ♡ (@MiaLaraLayne) April 14, 2020
They were already flying off shelves before that touch of marketing genius. Now they’re as prized as toilet paper.
There’s no doubt a lot of parents swearing across the country has risen, as more and more Lego pieces end up on living room floors, ready to be trod on.
Kicked along by the Lego Masters telly show, sales of the building toy have spiked as much as 92 per cent week on week.