The coronavirus pandemic almost instantly changed what we buy, how we buy, and the price at which we buy it.
In order to meet dwindling demand (or non-existent foot traffic), companies have had to slash prices. But now that three different kinds of vaccines are being rolled out, we can start to envision a return to normal (whatever that is).
But once that happens, certain items will cost more. If you’re in the market for these items, you might want to buy now, because they’ll be more expensive in the coming months post-Covid:
Apparel was still 2.5% cheaper in January 2021 than it was in January 2020, but all signs the past few months show that apparel prices are going up. From January to February, apparel prices rose almost 3%.
Once people are attending work functions, parties and formal events, those once-unwanted clothing items will be in high demand, resulting in supply limitations and higher prices.
Even popular “athleisure” wear is expected to be spendier as demand is expected to stay strong in 2021.
2. Eating Out
Restaurants have been hobbled by Covid-19, and when things fully reopen, there will be both an increased demand from returning customers and a desire for struggling restaurants to recoup some of their losses.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts a 2-3% increase in eating out in 2021 — the same increase predicted for overall food prices (although at-home food is only expected to get 1-2% more expensive).
The pandemic shut down the meat supply chain in 2020 and created shortages, which made the price of beef, pork, and veal soar. Although prices dipped a little since last spring, meat prices are once again creeping up.
The price of feed for these livestock has soared 30% or more according to Bloomberg, and so agricultural economists predict that meat will face substantial price increases in 2021.
4. Airline Tickets
The airlines have been one of the hardest hit industries during Covid-19, and although they’ve tried to make money in creative ways, they’re going to want to make up for lost time as they make a comeback this summer.
Not only are airlines’ costly cleaning practices likely to become permanent, but many companies reduced routes, leading to less available flights than before.
Prices are already rebounding from historic lows; Southwest’s spring $29 sale doesn’t have that many tickets at $39, and in many cases, routes are more expensive than they were during their $39 fall sale.
Lockdowns, social distancing, and business closures cut down on gasoline demand, and prices got REALLY cheap (we even wrote about nearly free gas back then).
But as people are driving again, and as the economy fully opens back up, look for gas prices to increase. They’ve already jumped about 7% from January to February 2021, according to the Consumer Price Index.
You might even see a bump in car insurance premiums, as more drivers get back on the road.
Demand for jewelry all but dried up in 2020, but as markets reopen and postponed weddings get back on the schedule, the industry recovered.
The Wall Street Journal reported that polished diamond prices are more than 5% higher than they were in March 2020 – mostly due to Asian markets. Once the U.S. market fully reopens, expect demand (and prices) to surge even more.
7. Hotel Stays
Hotels were largely empty in 2020, and early research shows that 50% of hotel rooms will remain empty in 2021. But industry watchers say that now is the time to lock in a low rate at a hotel for an upcoming trip.
As coronavirus restrictions ease in the wake of vaccinations, prices will certainly rise, as the chains see increased demand and are trying to make up for lost revenue.
Buying now will lock in prices for later, regardless of what happens between now and your trip.
8. Streaming Entertainment
In the midst of the ever-growing streaming wars, and the massive increase of hours watched in average households, streamers are increasing their subscription fees. We saw Netflix bump up their prices back in October, and Disney+ introduced their first increase since going live in 2019.
As these providers compete to create new content and retain subscribers, they’re going to be spending more money. They’ll recoup their expenses by incrementally raising prices.
Additionally, Americans spent 27% more on video games in 2020 than in 2019, and that demand isn’t going anywhere. The big video game companies are looking to raise their monthly subscription fees by $1-$2 in 2021, and individual games will also see modest price hikes.
9. Computers & Home Electronics
Computers, smartphones, and other home electronics are made up of a lot of special parts, and some of those parts are made with Rare Earth Elements (REEs).
A massive boom of demand for electronics in 2020 is expected to lead to a shortage of REEs in 2021, which will most likely drive up the prices for these items.
10. Home Gym Gear
In the third quarter of 2020, home fitness equipment sales nearly doubled compared to the same time frame in 2019.
Demand remains strong, and since the future of gyms isn’t exactly clear (if/when they’ll get back to normal), it could stay that way for a while. Heavy demand in the midst of limited supply means higher prices.
That said, if you’re looking for sporting goods, expect good deals in 2021 as team sports are expected to ramp up again. Companies will be looking to offload sport-specific items that have been stuck in inventory since early 2020.