Toilet paper and chickens: UsedVictoria finds shoppers searching for unusual items during the COVID-19 crisis

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UsedVictoria has seen unique searches pop up during the COVID-19 pandemic, including chickens

With more and more stores closing across the city due to COVID-19, the popular second-hand shopping website UsedVictoria.ca has seen more traffic than usual, with unusual searches.

Used.ca’s Director of Marketing Nicki Reich says in the past two weeks, new items have hit the top 100 search list that have never been there before.

Not surprisingly, toilet paper was the second most searched for item, with more than 3,000 searches in the last four weeks. Similarly, hand sanitizer made the top 100 with 800 searches. These items have never been top 100 before, but sellers will be disappointed to find used.ca banned those items for sale weeks ago to prevent price gouging.

“Popular searches have included desks for all those folks setting up home offices. While desk is often in the top 15 searches on our sites, home office equipment placed #5 in our top searches in the last two weeks,” said Reich.

Victorians seem to want to start working out at home, as weights, weight benches, barbells and dumbbells are all in the top 100 over the last two weeks as gyms and recreation centres have closed.

“None of these terms made the top 100 in the months before (even in January!). Combined, there have been over 2,700 searches, which places home gyms at #4. It might be a good time to sell that treadmill, as they were #100,” said Used.ca.

Gamers are also utilizing the site, searching for the Nintendo Switch. The handheld device has been hovering around #29 for months, but now it has jumped to #3 in the last two weeks. Joining them in the top 100 for the first time in months is PS4 at #15 and XBox squeaking in at #98.

“There was a spike in searches for freezers, presumably by folks looking to do grocery shops to last two weeks or more to avoid leaving the house,” said Reichs.

The number one most searched item? Firewood.

This nothing new, as it has always been atop the search list even before the COVID-19 crisis.

And the most interesting new term debuting at #86? Chickens.

Reichs speculates the feathered friends are now being sought out as people may want to become more self sufficient during the global pandemic.

The company has recommended new protocols for second-hand shopping and exchanges due to COVID-19 concerns, including leaving the item outside of your door for the buyer and using e-transfers instead of cash when safe to do so.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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