There has been a lot of news about the rise of comfort-food orders from restaurants, starting when consumers hunkered down to shelter in place in March. But aside from all the mac ‘n cheese, fried chicken and pizza consumers ordered, third-party delivery company Postmates uncovered some more unexpected trends.
The data released by Postmates Thursday reveals how Americans’ buying habits evolved to reflect this unprecedented year.
Way back in pre-pandemic January, orders of Gatorade—a go-to hangover remedy—spiked 197% on New Year’s Day. Valentine’s Day brought a 1,800% surge in heart-shaped pizza deliveries, but as soon as February turned into March, year-over-year sales of hand sanitizer and toilet paper took over, up 9,987% and 619% respectively.
Not too surprising, but as stay-at-home mandates became more widespread consumers tried to make the best of it. The work-from-home crowd pushed up sales of office supplies by 18.5% from the previous month and pet supplies rose 57% week-over-week. Electronic gaming gear also saw a spike in sales, growing 77% month-over-month.
March also saw growth in Postmates gift cards (315% year over year) and customers became more generous in tipping the delivery crew, reports the company.
This unpredictable year pushed alcohol sales up 49% overall, with April seemingly the most stressful month of the year with a 65% increase over March. Drinking habits changed with the seasons. Pinot Noir was the most frequently ordered in winter, but light beer took the top spot in spring. Come summer, Sauvignon Blanc and White Claw Hard Seltzer topped the list.
On the food front, family meals—a new category for a lot of restaurants—became big sellers, with a 175% increase over 2019. Restaurants that tied into the national “food days” benefited with increased orders. Most popular of all was National Ice Cream Day on July 19, when ice cream orders went up 118% year-over-year.
The national election took up a lot of space in 2020, but it wasn’t until the first Presidential Debate in September that eating habits reflected that event. Chinese food was the cuisine of choice for delivery that night, but on Election Day the most popular items ordered were pizza, alcohol and desserts like cupcakes and ice cream. On Saturday, Nov, 7, consumers celebrated by ordering Champagne and Prosecco; sales of bubblies were up by 445% over the previous week.