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Shoppers changing habits as pandemic restrictions loosen

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Posted: May 27, 2021 12:43 PM
Updated: May 27, 2021 12:46 PM

As people are slowly emerging from the pandemic, shoppers are looking for items that they have not had to buy in a while.

Just a year ago, panic buyers were shopping for toilet paper and wipes but now they are looking for sunscreen, shaving supplies and teeth whitener.

As the country returns to work and play, masks are coming off.

"We've been home for so long that we want to come out with a glow,” said Rhoxy Lezama, who was shopping at Ulta. “We're like tired of looking like we've been home for a year and a half!"

Gone are some of those painful experiences -- waiting in long lines to buy toilet paper, or finding store shelves ransacked of all cleaning supplies.

Instead through the first four weeks of the quarter toilet paper sales plummeted 28%, compared to the year before.

Multi-purpose cleaners dropped a more modest 12% while teeth whiteners sales jumping 51%

And then there's cosmetics and skincare.

"Makeup is coming back in full force," Nicole McMann said.

At an Ulta beauty store in Miami, McCann points out top sellers like lip gloss and sunless tanners.

The consumer brands association says cosmetics spending was up a hefty 23.5% in March -- year-over-year.

"When we had the mask requirements, it was all about the eyes,” McMann said. “And now people are all about the full-face, and just letting themselves be themselves again.”

The excitement is splurge-worthy for some.

“About $800 later we're locked and loaded and ready to go,” Memori Ackers said.

Other consumer products soaring in popularity like breath fresheners, jeans and a bit of bubbly champagne.

On the flip side, one product store can't wash their hands of hand sanitizers, which are now, in surplus.

"We probably have close to $2 million left, and I don't want it if anybody knows anybody that could use a lot of hand sanitizer-- please give me a call," said Marc Perlman, Ocean State Job Lot CEO

One chain in the northeast has so much they're practically giving bottles away.

"If you come into our store and you buy $10 or more of sanitizer, we'll give you a gift card, equal to your purchase," Perlman said.

Jeans are really seeing a spike but that's not all.

Skirts are apparently flying off the shelves. shoes are seeing a big spike, with people getting out more.

But one thing that's apparently not selling well is sweatpants.

Internet searches for sweats down 39% compared to last winter.

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