Pattie Lovett-Reid: Lessons learned from pandemic's first wave
At a time when many things feel beyond our control, it is understandable we try to take control where we can. The pandemic has impacted so many aspects of our lives, so when we see an opportunity to make things feel even a little better, we grab on to it.
At the beginning of the pandemic, stock piling toilet paper and hand sanitizer was evident with product flying off the shelves. Jigsaw puzzles were in high demand and home renovations kicked into gear.
By the time summer rolled around, golf became a popular sport of choice as one of the first sporting opportunities to re-open and, according to fintech firm Moneris, retailers in the outdoor travel and sports and recreation sectors saw a notable boost in spending thanks to Canadians getting outdoors and traveling closer to home.
Outside of recreation, home supply and warehouse stores, meanwhile, saw increases of 31 per cent compared to last year, according to Moneris.
However, the hospitality and travel sectors are still facing depressed volume due to travel restrictions. This is unlikely to change anytime soon and an industry that has benefited in the past from the winter holiday season will sadly be hit hard again.
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It stands to reason we are all thinking: as fear mounts over a potential second lockdown, what are some of the lessons we learned from the past will result in us doing things differently this time?
Personally, I recognized the need for staple items: the types of things we use every day and the little comforts we’ve come to enjoy. In my case, it’s the three Cs –cookies, coffee and canned goods.
Little doubt toilet paper and hand sanitizer will continue to be high on the list. And keep in mind that this time around, we will be entering into flu season creating an even higher demand for disinfectants. It is also typically a dry season so humidifiers could see a uptick in demand.
Outdoor activities such a cross-country skiing, snow shoes and outdoor clothing will be important to getting outside to enjoy the elements safely and warmly.
If you love to workout but have yet to return to the gym as the weather turns, you may be exploring equipment for home use. I've tried to carve out a workout space at home yet still don't have all the equipment I would like and I've been shopping around. Setting yourself up for success for working out at home will be key if that is important to you.
Finally, the holidays are fast-approaching and while there will be online sales, recognize the supply chain was disrupted before and it could be again. Limited supplies of popular items translated into frustration pretty quickly during the pandemic’s early days. This is not the year to be a last-minute shopper.
I sincerely hope a full lockdown doesn't come to fruition. It will likely mean businesses will once again be challenged, and the economy will suffer.
Should all this happen, it will only be natural once again for families to try to control where they can in order to get through yet another difficult situation.