“Did you know that the sale of flour increased drastically over the last few months in South Africa, and in Zimbabwe ice cream sold like crazy?” my brother-in-law said in one of our afternoon discussions. He works for a large international company and studies market trends.
This made me wonder what else people bought during lockdown, so I did some research. I learned that Shoprite and Checkers, two large retail outlets in South Africa, have seen a noticeable increase in the sale of dishwashing liquid as more people cook at home. Baking and cooking products have been very popular, too. Pick n Pay, another large outlet, saw major spikes in the sale of white rice, frozen corn and spaghetti, followed by a surge in demand for frozen pizza.
As the reality sank in that salons and hairdressers would remain closed for the foreseeable future, sales of home hair-coloring kits and related beauty products took off.
As lockdown continued, shopping trends have shifted away from staples towards comfort foods and other luxuries. Art paint and brushes saw a 288-percent increase in demand at Pick n Pay.
Initial panic buying and stockpiling of things like toilet paper and pasta have given way to other diverse sales trends in various parts of the world. It seems that Italians are tending to their appearance and making their own alcohol, judging by sales of beauty products and brewer’s yeast. Germans are buying products to clean their homes.
In sharp contrast to Italians, Americans seem to be turning to processed food in droves, with frozen cookie dough sales increasing by 454 percent. Frozen pizza kits went up 243 percent while pizza-crust mixes rose by more than 100 percent. Other popular items in America included egg substitutes, dry yeast and reduced-calorie soft drinks. Cleaning products were also popular, with disposable gloves and trash-can deodorizers seeing significant sales increases.
The French have also turned to baking, with sales of yeast up 175 percent. Flour, desserts and canned tomatoes were also popular. Bleach sales were up 78 percent, and bath soap purchases went up 65 percent.
Ellen White wrote, “God doesn’t forget His people. As the decree issued by the various rulers of Christendom against commandment keepers shall withdraw the protection of government and abandon them to those who desire their destruction, the people of God will flee from the cities and villages and associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate and solitary places. Many will find refuge in the strongholds of the mountains.
“Like the Christians of the Piedmont valleys, they will make the high places of the earth their sanctuaries and will thank God for ‘the munitions of rocks’ (Isaiah 33:16). But many of all nations and of all classes, high and low, rich and poor, black and white, will be cast into the most unjust and cruel bondage. . . .
“Will the Lord forget his people in this trying hour? Did He forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the antediluvian world? Did He forget Lot when the fire came down from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? Did He forget Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget Elijah when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the prophets of Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal pit of his prison house? Did he forget the three worthies in the fiery furnace? Or Daniel in the den of lions?” (The Great Controversy, p 626).
“Zion said, ‘The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands” (Isa. 49:14-16). May we remember this promise as we navigate the storms of this life until Jesus comes!