These Are the Items That Are Selling Out as COVID Surges, Research Shows

A new survey says these products are about to fly off the shelves, so get yours while you can.

The early days of the coronavirus pandemic saw a major rush on certain products, making it harder than ever to come across basic necessities such as toilet paper or Lysol wipes. Now, as COVID numbers are surging above the previous record highs set over the summer, new research indicates that shoppers are preparing to hit the stores hard once again to make sure their homes don't run short on the things they need to get by. Read on for more on which items are selling out as COVID surges, and for another product that's disappearing for different reasons, find out why Petco Just Took This Controversial Product Off Its Shelves.

A recent survey conducted by data services company Inmar Intelligence, published on Oct. 27, found that shoppers have learned from the difficult days when the novel coronavirus first began closing businesses and keeping people at home. Their report shows that 57 percent of respondents say that they plan to replenish the stockpiles they started in spring—and they shared what in particular they're buying up.

"The survey results indicate that a majority of shoppers are likely to make their way into grocery stores to stockpile goods," David Mounts, Inmar Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "As we enter one of the busiest shopping seasons, it will be important for retailers not only to prepare for this new surge in demand but also deliver value to customers during this time of crisis in order to maintain heightened trust and customer loyalty."

So which items did respondents say they were planning on buying in bulk? Read on to find out, counting down to the most common response. And for more on things you won't see in the store anytime soon, check out Nordstrom Just Became the First Retailer to Ban These Products.

Frozen dinners

Marie Callender's frozen foods

While not part of the initial run on food products during the first wave of the pandemic, frozen dinners were one of the new products that 45 percent of respondents said they would be stocking up on this time around. And there are already signs that people are filling their freezers: According to sales figures for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 (which ended Aug. 30), frozen food conglomerate Conagra Brands, Inc.—which includes the popular brands Marie Callender's, Healthy Choice, and EVOL—saw a 15 percent growth in organic net sales.



The year-round cabinet staple may not have been in as short supply during the first wave of the pandemic, but 45 percent of respondents included dried pasta as one of the items they will likely choose to pick up more of this time around. And for more on the metro areas that may be stockpiling, check out These Major Cities Are Showing Signs of Another Lockdown.


an assortment of nuts and pretzels and snacks

Preparing to stay at home more often involves buying more than just what you need to prepare the major meals of the day; 45 percent of respondents included simple snacks as something they'll be conscious to buy more of as a new wave of the pandemic hits.

Paper towels

display of bounty paper towels

With increased COVID cases come more rigid cleaning schedules—and thus an increased demand for cleaning products, including paper towels. The Inmar survey found that 52 percent of respondents plan to buy up a large supply of paper towels in order to pick up messes while being stuck at home. And for the latest areas where the virus is surging, check out The 7 New COVID Hotspots in the U.S.

Disinfecting wipes

clorox disinfecting wipes on store shelves
Shutterstock/Roman Tiraspolsky

Shoppers may have loved Clorox Wipes before the pandemic struck, but they really took to them once the great wipe down of spring 2020 began. In fact, the product became so popular that in August, Clorox CEO Benno Dorer told Reuters that the brand's disinfecting wipes likely wouldn't be fully restocked in stores until 2021, calling them "the hottest commodity in the business right now." In the Inmar survey's findings, 53 percent of shoppers said they'd be stocking up on wipes, despite the fact that we've since learned COVID isn't likely to be transmitted via surfaces.

Canned goods

canned food health myths

Invaluable for their incredibly long shelf life and easy preparation, canned food items are a go-to item when it comes to maintaining a stockpile of supplies to see yourself through emergency situations. That's likely why 54 percent of the survey's respondents said they would be buying them in bulk. And while everything from soup to sauce can come packaged this way, keep in mind that the first wave of the pandemic saw certain canned goods go faster than others—especially canned corn. And for more updates on the virus, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Hand sanitizer

woman choosing between hand sanitizers at store

It's no surprise that 57 percent of respondents want to get their hands on sanitizer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long touted it as an easy way to kill germs while out in public and when you can't make it to a sink with soap and running water. Hopefully, the increase in demand months ago will help avoid the same major shortages that the first coronavirus wave yielded. And to make sure your bottle is getting the job done, check out The 5 Mistakes You're Still Making When Choosing a Hand Sanitizer.

Toilet paper

kirkland toilet paper stacks at costco
melissamn / Shutterstock

The all-too-essential item that was almost worth its weight in gold during the earliest days of the pandemic isn't exactly a product that can go out of style or be replaced. Maybe that's why 67 percent of respondents said they "currently and will continue to stockpile" toilet paper as the winter COVID surge hits. And for more on places that may be reverting to more serious measures of COVID containment, check out These States Are Showing Signs of Another Lockdown.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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