5 things to buy now before they become impossible to find this winter

Americans are stocking up for back-to-school season, along with the probable second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, some items are flying off shelves.


Throughout the pandemic, there have been products that are suddenly completely sold out everywhere you look. Some of them were predictable, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Others were less obvious, like baking yeast, bikes, and kiddie pools. The pattern is likely to continue as we head into the winter months. 

Consumers spent 4% more while shopping during the last two weeks of August, compared to how much they spent shopping in January, before the pandemic, according to data from Status Money.

Many are stocking up for back-to-school season, along with the probable second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which would likely force outdoor dining to close and Americans to remain in their homes even more. As a result, experts say, some items are already flying off shelves and might be hard to find come fall and winter.

Here are some products you should consider buying now, before they become impossible to find later this year. 

Winter activewear 

With many gyms still closed, and some Americans not comfortable returning to the ones that have reopened, workout routines have moved outside. Parks and public lands have experienced some of their highest usage during the pandemic, according to The Trust for Public Land

Once temperatures drop, some activities and exercise might become harder to enjoy without the proper winter workout gear. Hoodies, jackets, and joggers are selling out quickly online, says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at Offers.com. At Gap, activewear sales led the company to have a smaller earnings drop, according to reporting by The New York Times.

"Some retailers, including REI and Old Navy, are running Labor Day sales and are quickly selling out of certain colors and sizes of staple cold-weather activewear," McGrath says. "If you see something you like and it's available, it could make sense to snap it up while Labor Day sales are running, instead of not being able to find it when you actually need it."

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Indoor exercise equipment 

"If you plan on shifting your workouts to indoors when the weather gets cold, put mats and weights on your shopping list now," McGrath says.

During the pandemic, free weights sales grew 181% and yoga mat sales grew 146%, according to data from the NPD group. Free weights, specifically, have already been hard to find, leading people to get creative with White Claws or bags of rice. If you see any workout gear available now, it would be a good idea to scoop it up.

"Soon you might not have outdoor workouts to fall back on," McGrath says. 

If you plan on shifting your workouts to indoors when the weather gets cold, put mats and weights on your shopping list now.
Kristin McGrath
Shopping Expert at Offers.com

Art supplies

If you're thinking that this is the winter you'll finally learn how to knit, paint, or draw, you're not alone.

E-commerce sales at Michaels surged 353.1% during the second quarter, according to Seeking Alpha, as shoppers stocked up on arts and crafts supplies to entertain themselves and their children. This is especially true of "entry-level, easy, indoor art products," such as adult coloring books, McGrath says. "Those items could come in really handy when cold weather keeps people shut indoors." 

However, she warns, it's important to be realistic about how you are going to spend your time this winter. "With any new hobby, you want to think about whether you'll actually commit before dropping several hundred dollars on it." 

Skin care products

While makeup sales continue to decline, skin care products are selling quite well, says Victoria Sakal, managing director of brand intelligence at Morning Consult. "People are buying lotions and face mask sheets," she says. 

In fact, in early May, skin care sales surpassed makeup sales, Larissa Jensen of the NPD Group told The New York Times. The surge is due to people spending more time at home, but also because mandatory mask mandates is causing "maskne," or skin irritation where you wear your mask. 

If you have a favorite skin care product, you might want to order it in bulk now. 

Baking supplies, again 

You may remember how hard it was to find yeast and other baking products at the beginning of the pandemic. Well, McGrath predicts that home baking will pick back up as we approach the holidays.

"Baking supplies for holiday pies, cookies, and cakes could start selling out as consumers expand their pandemic baking into holiday treats to keep some safe at-home holiday traditions alive," she says. 

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