Mar 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

Coronavirus efforts shift consumer interest toward booze, guns

A supermarket in Ashford, Ky., on March 16, 2020. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

The coronavirus epidemic has reshaped local economies across the country, as consumers respond to social distancing recommendations and business closures, a report by Yelp out Friday indicates.

What's happening: In just a week, consumer interest has shifted away from dine-in restaurants and nightlife, and toward interest in buying guns, booze and water.

Details:

  • Restaurants and nightlife, in particular, have seen a drop, as people look to avoid large groups of people. Per Yelp's data, consumer interest in the industries has dipped 54% and 69% respectively.
  • That comes as food delivery has seen a 59% increase, and interest in buying direct from farmers has increased 405%.
  • Interest in buying guns has risen 360%, and in buying water by 166%.
  • As gyms around the country close, interest in home fitness equipment has spiked 344%. Interest in parks has increased 53%, while hiking has climbed 116%.
  • Meanwhile yoga has sagged 38%, while martial arts and bowling have declined 33% and 43% respectively.

Of note: Both coasts, particularly the Northeast, have felt the effects more than the Midwest and Southeast.

Methodology: The analysis measured consumer interest by gauging the actions people took to connect with businesses on Yelp, like viewing business' pages or posting reviews. The data was gathered between March 8 and 18 and was limited to U.S. users.

Go deeper: The coronavirus outbreak could hit every sector of the economy

Go deeper

Coronavirus pushes traditional businesses into the digital age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of old-line industries that once hesitated to embrace digital technologies are now being forced to do so for the sake of survival.

Why it matters: Once consumers get used to accessing services digitally — from older restaurants finally embracing online ordering, or newspapers finally going all-digital — these industries may find it hard to go back to traditional operations.

NRA sues California officials for designating gun stores non-essential

Photo: Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state officials on Friday after gun stores were deemed non-essential and required to close for the state's stay-at-home order amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: Both Second Amendment advocates and gun control backers argue that shutting federally licensed firearms dealers could push buyers to purchase guns online or through private sales without background checks, per AP.

The emerging coronavirus economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Companies that make products geared toward staying at home — think peanut butter, exercise bikes and telecommunication software — are the unexpected beneficiaries of the evolving coronavirus economy.

Why it matters: There are dour forecasts for the global economy as the coronavirus runs its course. But investors are placing bets on what consumers will need as the fast-spreading outbreak worsens.