Port Washington, NY, December 23, 2020– 2020 has brought new meaning to the term stressful. Hunkered down in their homes and feeling the anxiety and stress of the ongoing pandemic, U.S. consumers have been purchasing at-home remedies to relieve their stress. Sales of self-help books, candles, and massaging appliances have all grown by double-digits this year, reports The NPD Group.

According to BookScan®, there was a growth trend in self-help and therapy subjects early in the COVID-19 pandemic, with double-digit gains in the 13 weeks ending August 1 this year, driven largely by books that focus on mindfulness, including titles like “Man’s Search For Meaning,” by Viktor E. Frankl and “Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World,” by Tara Brach. Self-help books also saw a spike during this period, driving unit sales up 22% compared to the prior period. Self-help has seen continued growth through mid-December, with single-digit growth compared to last year.

Addressing the physical side of stress relief and self-care, in the 6 months ending October 2020, 5.6 million massaging appliances were sold, an 86% increase compared to the same time last year, according to NPD’s Checkout information. Limitations on the ability to visit professional therapeutic services, and the related cost savings has consumers investing in the products they are purchasing. The average amount spent on massaging appliances between January and October was 38% higher than last year, making it the category with the third largest increase in average selling price across all general merchandise industries tracked by NPD.1 Dollar sales of massaging appliances continue to grow by more than 50% through this holiday season.1

“Massaging appliances can solve a variety of consumer wellness needs that have escalated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joe Derochowski, NPD’s home industry advisor. “Whether it is to relieve stress, soothe a sore back from a makeshift home workspace, or just find some much-needed relaxation, these products fit into the consumer’s broader quest for comfort during challenging times, which will make them a popular holiday gift to splurge on.”

In addition to massaging appliances, there is growth in beauty categories that use our senses of smell and touch, along with a little pampering, to contribute to a feeling of well-being. Since March, candles and home fragrance ancillary gift sets have both seen double-digit dollar gains, as did body exfoliator skincare products, nail care, and nail tools and accessories2 – a trend that has continued in the prestige beauty industry through the holiday season3.

“Shifting consumer priorities toward self-care and treating themselves to little luxuries have been bright spots for the prestige beauty industry this year,” said Larissa Jensen, NPD’s  beauty industry advisor. “Through products such as body care and home scents, consumers are creating a spa-like environment at home and finding new outlets to de-stress and capture a sense of normalcy and balance.”    

1Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service
2Source: The NPD Group/U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market
3Source: The NPD Group / U.S. Prestige Beauty Department Store/Specialty Weekly, 10 weeks ending December 12

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