The United States tallied more than 1 million new Covid-19 cases in less than a week, according to reporting from CNBC. There are around 150,000 new cases being reported each day. With infection rates rising so dramatically, experts say a second shutdown of some sort may be imminent.
To make a winter quarantine more comfortable, many Americans are investing in their space. "The wider home goods and home improvement sectors have seen their earlier strength sustain deep into the fall and early winter," says Ethan Chernofsky, the vice president of marketing at Placer.ai, a tool that tracks consumer foot traffic.
In October, Home Depot and Lowe's saw year-over-year visits increase 15.7% and 23.9%, respectively, according to Placer.ai data. Visits to TJ Maxx Home Goods increased 17.3% year over year. Bed, Bath & Beyond is still experiencing a dip in visits, but in October visits were down just 6.5%, an improvement from being down 19.1% in September.
"'Home' is the biggest shopping category for this entire year and the holiday season," says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at Offers.com.
Here are three things quickly selling out in stores as Americans prepare for a long, locked-down winter.
During previous winters, Americans with outdoor spaces might have simply covered their furniture with a tarp and abandoned it until spring. This year, however, stores are seeing a different trend.
"Retailers are facing unique demands this year from people who are outfitting their outdoor spaces for entertaining during the colder season," McGrath says. "For consumers, that means it's difficult to find the little things, like outdoor patio cushions."
Stores like Overstock and Wayfair still have a fair number, but it "might not be possible to get the exact color you want, or get enough cushions in the same color," she says. So, if you see a set of cushions you like, snap them up.
But don't forget that public health officials have said even small, private social gatherings are fueling the spread of coronavirus, so make sure to follow local regulations on attendance limits and take precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
"If you're looking for outdoor heaters, start shopping now," McGraths says. Currently, she says, there are plenty in stock, but they are selling quickly as consumers start to prepare for a second lockdown.
At Walmart, you can buy a stainless steel standing patio heater for $349.95. But at Sam's Club, all five patio heater models they carry are currently sold out on the warehouse club's website. On Amazon, a stainless steel patio heater is retailing for $399.99 but as of press time, there were only three left.
Same goes for outdoor grills, McGrath says. "Retailers have plenty in stock, but some models are becoming unavailable for shipping from major retailers, and have limited in-store stock for in-store pickup."
"TVs are selling out quickly, which is to be expected given that some [Black Friday] deals are running earlier," says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com.
At Best Buy, a Samsung 65" Class 7 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV is discounted from $530 to $478. And at Walmart a Samsung 50" Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) HDR Smart QLED TV QN50Q60T 2020 is discounted from $650 to $498.
Scour Black Friday deals, which are happening all month, to see how to best update your home theater experience. And don't forget to check price-matching policies. "Some stores are extending price matching policies to boost consumer confidence in shopping early," Ramhold says.
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