The coronavirus pandemic has revolutionized the ways that we live and work, hinged on an unseen but terrifying force so sudden that entire industries were forced to upend traditional 8-5 strategies for the workday. Gone are commutes and executive parking spaces, coffee-break gossip in the hallways and after-work happy hours.
For those with the means, or at least a generous corporate reimbursement allowance, we’ve discovered various means to an end. Instacart orders have replaced the typical runs to the grocery store, daily commutes to work involve walking from one room to another and the workout classes we once attended are now completed in our living rooms, balconies or gardens. COVID-19 has caused us to get creative when it comes to improving our day-to-day lives at home, which has increased the demand for products that were considered arbitrary, unnecessary and even, dare we say, nerdy just one year ago today.
The first thing that comes to mind are blue light glasses. Since we work from home all day on computers and spend all night watching TV and scrolling on our phones, our screen time skyrocketed in 2020. Staring at devices all day is not only detrimental for our eyes but also wreaks havoc on our sleep schedules. Thus, enter blue light glasses. Studies have shown that these glasses– equipped with special lenses that filter the destructive blue light that our devices emit– reduce eyestrain, protect our eyes and improve our sleep quality. According to optical company Zenni, sales for their blue light glasses have increased 60 percent over the past two years– not to mention they sold a whopping 2 million pairs in 2020 alone.
Computer accessories and desk enhancements also skyrocketed in popularity at the onset of the pandemic. With unknown millions pivoting from traditional office spaces to their own work-from-home station, many invested in external monitors, laptop stands, Bluetooth computer mice and even stand-up desks. According to Glimpse’s COVID-19 Consumer Impact Tracker, there was a 160 percent increase in interest in computer monitors in March alone.
On the topic of working from home, the copious amounts of on-camera Zoom meetings call for desperate needs for better lighting in homes never designed for Hollywood production. Ring lights– which have been used by photographers for decades– are circular, electric bright lights that reduce shadows and provide an even glow– perfect to set up behind your computer while you’re on-camera. Though it may sound trivial, hundreds of thousands of Americans hopped on the ring light train in the early stages of working from home. In May 2020, ring lights topped the Cell Phones and Accessories charts on Amazon for weeks on end, and as the pandemic continues to worsen across the U.S., it doesn’t look like sales will die down anytime soon.
As we all know too well, COVID brought the closure of gyms and workout studios and the rise of at-home fitness. Americans who relied on SoulCycle classes, appointments with personal trainers or CrossFit sessions for their daily sweat were forced to improvise and complete workouts from the comfort of their homes. Matt Powell, vice president of market research company NPD, told the Washington Post earlier this month that, “As soon as the lockdowns took effect, the home-fitness business took off like wildfire.” According to NPD data, the health and fitness equipment revenue more than doubled, reaching $2.3 billion from March to October of 2020. Americans bought a range of at-home equipment, from inexpensive dumbbell sets to thousand-dollar machines. Peloton, the seven-year-old American company that makes high tech at-home bikes and treadmills, thrived in 2020 despite its higher-than-average market price point. The company reported an incredible 172 percent surge in sales in its fiscal fourth quarter, and it predicted that it would rake in sales between $3.5 billion and $3.65 billion in 2021.
While we can only hope we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, products like these that saved us through lockdowns and stay-at-home orders will likely be omnipresent in our lives for the foreseeable future.
By: Brett Chody: Trends Contributor.