Amazon 2020 Year in Review: The Hottest Items of a Year Like No Other

The Amazon 2020 Year in Review: Examining the products that defined the past year.

“What was it like living in 2020?”

We’ll likely be tasked with answering that question at some point in the future. And oh boy, how would we begin?

Undoubtedly, we’ve all had our own unique, personal experience with 2020. But collectively, you can tell the story of 2020 through consumer trends. What were we looking for and buying? What was popular in 2020 like no time before?

Behind the year’s hottest items lies a story about a year for the history books. Shoppers bought more items on Amazon than ever before, an important benchmark that tells a story of its own. Responsible for nearly half the items sold online, Amazon is a powerhouse packed with an almost unlimited trove of insightful data.

Using Viral Launch’s comprehensive software suite, including tools such as Keyword Research and Market Intelligence, we’ve tracked Amazon trends via sales and search volume.

Using that information, we’ve compiled your Amazon 2020 Year in Review, with the data on the year’s hottest items.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

Face Masks

What a difference a year makes. Remember when “face mask” conjured thoughts of a football helmet, Halloween accessory, or a part of a beauty routine? Man, those were the days.

With an estimated search volume that lingered around 240,000 searches per month for nearly two years, we can’t accurately say the phrase itself came out of nowhere.

PICTURED: Estimated searches for “face mask” on Amazon over time.

But the reasoning behind this search began to change and take on a whole new meaning starting in February as COVID-19 infiltrated the country. As towns, cities, and states mandate the wearing of masks to contain the virus, demand is higher than ever as we enter 2021.

With over 1.8 million searches this month, face masks may be as popular of an item that Amazon has ever had.

With the influx of searches, sales skyrocketed.

In the image on the left, we see sales estimates for a top-selling face mask listing dating back to January 2019. For the entirety of 2019, they sold between 100-200 units per month. Since late March, they’ve sold over 1,000 units per month for much of the year.

Many of the top sellers for the product just started selling in the past few months, as longtime sellers were wiped out of inventory quickly due to boom in demand. As the need for face masks has persisted, it’s allowed newer sellers to enter the market and find success.

But face masks were far from the only COVID-related product to rise to prominence in 2020…

Hand Sanitizer

We imagine no two products paired more often than face masks and hand sanitizer for the year.

Unlike face masks, there was no redefining “hand sanitizer” this year and it’s a product that has always experienced consistent sales. But clearly, the demand climbed exponentially in the wake of COVID-19.

Brands such as Germ-X, Purell, Rubbermaid, and Amazon’s Solimo were at the forefront of the pack to take on the massive amount of traffic looking to kill 99.9% of germs.

However, even the major brands couldn’t have been prepared for the onslaught of sales. As showcased in the image below, sales stagnated for months on certain listings, almost certainly due to providing enough inventory to meet the insatiable demand.

At Home Products

But COVID-19 had a much larger imprint on our buying habits than directly stopping or killing the virus through masks and sanitizer.

Due to the abrupt changing of our world, we had to adjust our everyday habits on the fly. Of these changes, finding alternatives to the gym has been one of the more impactful ones on Amazon. Whether because of gyms closing, restrictions on gym-goers, or people preferring to not using shared equipment, the home workout market has been on a tear.

If you’ve tried purchasing at-home gym equipment over the past few months, you’re well aware of this.

These popular Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are a space-efficient solution for working out at home, but you’ll have to wait up to 4 months before it’s in route to your home.

Hoping to avoid the dreaded “quarantine 15” weight gain, many gym-related products have seen a dramatic upswing in interest on Amazon. Across the board, searches for treadmills, dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells, and jump rope have all experienced nearly four times as much traffic at its 2020 peak compared to pre-COVID demand.

Additionally, work life shifted from the office to remote for many companies. In recent months, it’s become apparent that work-from-home is here to stay. Workers have begun to turn their at-home work station from makeshift to one that better fits their long-term needs, the market for traditional office supplies has grown substantially.

In the last quarter of 2020, the following home office products have seen a dramatic increase in demand; office chairs, desks, desk accessories, and HDMI cables to get that time-saving double-screen action going.

Here’s to 2021’s Year In Review centering around getting back to normal as we defeat the virus and get back to normal.

2020: The Year TikTok Broke Through

In a more typical year, 2020 would be known as the year of TikTok.

Once upon a time, the lifespan of a social network platform was brief. One day there’s a brand new app that your cool friend is touting. The next, it’s gone the way of the dinosaur. When was the last time you updated your Myspace Top 8? Made any cool Vines lately?

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have a decade or more under their belt. Snapchat isn’t far behind. With the massive amount of money bankrolling these social networks, it had been a while since a new social network materialized that could compete.

From government intervention to surpassing 100 million U.S. users to the rise of content houses dedicated to TikTok stars, the app has solidified itself as Gen Z’s breakout social media.

Even before TikTok announced eCommerce integrations to allow merchants a larger presence on the platform, the rise of TikTok trickled into consumerism.

The Ring Light

Once an accessory for photographers and select content creators, the ring light became a must-have item for TikTokers this year. Peaking during the holidays, over 1.6 million estimated searches were performed for the product.

While searches for “ring light” peaked at the end of the year just in time for the holiday season, “ring light with stand” made a considerable leap in April and May before a holiday push.

Likewise, green screens saw a rise thanks to TikTok and it’s feature to use any backdrop with a handy green screen. As TikTokers pros like Jason Derulo and Will Smith use green screens for content gold, they rushed to Amazon to get one of their own.

@jasonderulo

Posting my faves til 2021 @chrisashley @willsmith #willxjason

♬ Love Not War (The Tampa Beat) – Jason Derulo & Nuka

Evidenced by over 440,000 estimated searches in December (compared to 106,000 in January), green screens were on everyone’s holiday wishlist.

Pop Culture Trends of 2020

As we spend more time indoors than ever, the year saw a rare shift back to the monoculture. With so many different sources of entertainment available, finding shared experiences through pop culture became a rarity. In a time where we were around family and friends less than ever, pop culture events of the past year gave us ample conversation topics, even if those conversations were through text, social networks, or Zoom.

Here are the shows, events, and games that helped define the past year.

The Netflix Standouts

Demand for tiger shirts roared during the show’s peak in April, then again right in time for Halloween.

With how long this year has felt, it may be difficult to believe that Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness came out in March. But it’s true. Just as the coronavirus forced us indoors, Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin entered our lives and became the modern-day Hatfields and McCoys.

Released on March 12th, the day between the WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, the docuseries provided much-needed entertainment and comic relief as we headed indoors.

But Tiger King was far from the only blockbuster hit from Netflix. In the last few months of the year, The Queen’s Gambit became the most-watched scripted miniseries in Netflix’s history. The drama, set in the 1950s and 1960s, renewed interest in the strategy-based board game.

For a top-selling chess kit, The Queen’s Gambit premiere on October 23rd kicked off a dramatic uptick in sales.

Premiering on October 23rd, searches and purchases have spiked for chess-related terms. In September, searches for “chess set” totaled 41,868. As the show’s rise in popularity coincided with the holiday season, searches were up to 345,245 in December. But the holiday season alone can’t be attributed to the uptick in searches for the phrase, as December 2018 and December 2019 each had between 105,000 and 120,000 searches.

The Queen’s Gambit’s popularity and the resulting blitz of traffic and sales prove selling the right product on Amazon at the right time can be incredibly rewarding.

The Kobe Effect

On January 26th, the world lost NBA legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter accident that took the lives of Bryant and eight others, including his daughter Gianna. Around the world, millions of fans lamented for the fallen icon.

Fans of Bryant sought solace in merchandise to honor the basketball icon.

Just before COVID-19 changed American life, countless fans of “The Black Mamba” gathered outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Bryant provided so many memories throughout his storied career. Fans adorned the area surrounding the arena with murals and items to memorialize Bryant.

As fans grieved, people sought Bryant gear to show their allegiance to Bryant was as strong as ever.

While Amazon typically isn’t the go-to source for athletic apparel from signature athletes, fans flocked to the eCommerce retailer looking for available merch. Much of Bryant’s signature merchandise is through the NBA or Nike, both of whom exclusively sell in their own stories.

However, part of Bryant’s allure is that he wasn’t just a typical athlete. You can find the five-time NBA champion’s autobiography, series of children’s books, and much more on Amazon.

Sports In 2020: Checking In On The Champs

Search volume trends for champions in the four major U.S. professional sports leagues mirrored the popularity of each sport in recent years, highlighting that football is America’s true pastime. Below, you’ll find each 2020 champion’s peak monthly estimated search volume.

(NFL) Chiefs: 174,757
(NBA) Lakers: 82,758
(MLB) Dodgers: 41,967
(NHL) Tampa Bay Lightning: 38,959

Even as teams played in empty or sparsely packed arenas, fans showed their support from afar.

The Gamers Level Up

Similar to TikTok, 2020 was a new high score for gaming. With more time spent indoors and next-generation XBOX and PlayStation consoles, it’s no surprise that competitive and casual gaming alike powered up. Amazon-owned Twitch, a streaming platform used primarily for gamers, nearly doubled the amount of content watched from Q3 2019 (2.5 billion hours) to Q3 2020 (4.7 billion).

The 2020 Console Wars

The latest battle of the Console Wars, with the XBOX Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles releasing in the last quarter of 2020. Due to production and manufacturing delays causing a stock shortage, many gamers are still refreshing their browsers in hopes for a restock.

Because of this, gamers are searching for the consoles at an astronomical rate. But which console wins in our 2020 year in review?

Over the holiday season, the PlayStation 5 appears to be the desired next-gen console for Amazon shoppers.

During the most popular shopping season, Sony’s Playstation 5 is holding a steady lead over its counterpart from Microsoft. Hopefully, more and more gamers can make the switch to next-gen as more consoles become available.

For reasons good and bad, 2020 has been a year for the books. As the ball drops in Times Square signaling the beginning of 2021, we at Viral Launch wish you a happy new year!

Thanks for checking out our Amazon 2020 Year In Review! Did we miss anything you think belongs on the list? Feel free to start your free trial with Viral Launch to dig through the data on your own! What was your favorite trend of 2020? Drop a comment below and let us know!

Want to make money by selling on Amazon? Learn from the experts in our totally FREE seller course!

Trick or Treat: 7 Amazon Trends for Halloween 2020

Attention ghouls and goblins, Halloween 2020 is almost upon us! Carve up some pumpkins, flip on your favorite horror movie, and rock out to Monster Mash.

In these unprecedented times, it’s increasingly difficult to know what to expect of Halloween 2020. However, consumers are shopping on Amazon more than ever, and Viral Launch has tools for Amazon sellers that accurately estimates metrics such as search volume and sales for products.

After taking a deep dive through our trove of data, we’ve found quite a few insightful trends for Halloween 2020.

1. Fewer People Are Dressing Up

If Amazon search trends are any indication, fewer people will be donning costumes compared to previous years.

As you might expect during a widespread pandemic, people are less likely to go out. In many places, the get-togethers will be limited and the number of attendees will be slim, so it makes sense that fewer people will be putting on a costume.

Sales for Halloween costumes are significantly down.

Compared to last year, searches for “Halloween costumes” on Amazon have been slashed nearly in half. Despite Halloween falling on a weekend, adult costumes don’t seem to be selling as well at traditional retailers either.

2. Shoppers are still buying tons of candy.

Despite the drop in people dressing up, candy is still being purchased by the boatload. Bulk boxes from Reese’s, Hershey’s, Mars, and other assorted all have multiple variety packs fetching over 10,000 estimated monthly sales.

Unfortunately, we’re also picking up historic Halloween sales of candy corn. Yuck!

Sales of candy corn are crushing its previous peak over the past month.

3. People are decorating like never before.

Just because people aren’t dressing up as much doesn’t mean they’re not in the holiday spirit! While there is still time to receive Prime-eligible items, searches for “outdoor Halloween decorations” have doubled from 2019’s search estimates, from 141.4k to 288.6k at last check.

Among the items you’re most likely to see in the yards of more festive folks are a 6’0 hanging cocoon corpse (13.2k monthly sales), a set of window decorations with bloody handprints (just under 10k monthly sales), and a pack of cautionary yard signs with stakes.

Of course, you’ll see your fair share of scary skeletons (a combined estimated search volume of over 600k) and Halloween lights (324.4k searches over the last 30 days) to get those signature Halloween vibes.

4. Pumpkin carving kits are selling frightfully fast.

Piggybacking off the increased interest in decorations, pumpkin carving kits are among the hottest items this month on Amazon.

On the first page of search results for the phrase, six of the top 20 results that appear showcase low quantity warnings, a sign that these items are selling even faster than the sellers anticipated.

Pumpkin carving kits are flying off the shelves.

During the 2019 Halloween season, estimated daily sales for the market peaked at 5,269. This year? 7,453.

Whether it’s the fun of carving with friends or family, or showing off your creativity and craftiness, nothing gets you in the spirit of the holiday quite like making a Jack-O-Lantern.

Pro tip: once finished carving, save them to make a salty, tasty treat.

5. The Tiger King (and Carole Baskin) are roaring.

Thanks to Netflix’s Tiger King, archenemies Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin are the biggest new stars of 2020. The true-crime documentary was released mid-March, right as COVID-19 began to make its impact felt in the United States.

Tiger King resonated uncannily due to a perfect storm of timing, enthralling characters, and internet memes. So it comes as no surprise that people are lining up to be the big cat adversaries for a night. So it comes as no surprise that people are lining up to be the big cat adversaries for a night.

Viral Launch’s Market Intelligence tool notes Joe Exotic costumes are increasing in popularity, while the price is down 29%, a sign that the market is getting saturated with sellers.

Our Keyword Research tool notes that there have been an estimated 42.1k searches for “Joe Exotic costume” over the past 30 days. The tool also pulls search data for related keywords and notes that there have been an estimated 30.4k “Tiger King costume” searches, and just under 10k “Joe Exotic wig” searches. Hopefully, the people who aren’t purchasing their mullet wig are saving money by growing their own.

While people flock by the thousands to dress as Mr. Exotic, the Tiger King himself will be donning a prison jumpsuit on Halloween as he serves his sentence for Murder for Hire and Animal Abuse.

Don’t be surprised if you see some of these cool cats and kittens out in the wild for October.

6. Move over Fortnite, “Among Us” is 2020’s top choice for gamers.

Seemingly every other month, there’s a new viral game capturing the attention of the nation. And what is Halloween but a look at what’s popular in the culture in a given year?

If consumer trends are the measuring stick, Among Us has far surpassed the popularity of Fortnite in 2020. In 2018, Fortnite Fever peaked swept the nation, with nearly 615k searches for Halloween costumes. While that number diminished in 2019, Fortnite maintained its place at the top of gaming costumes without an adversary to take the throne…until now.

Among Us has captured the hearts and thumbs of the nation. Released in 2018, the popularity of Among Us skyrocketed in 2020 as Twitch and YouTube streamers opted for the game. Based on the premise of working with Crewmates to find Impostors, the multiplayer game has been the most downloaded app for iPhones and iPads this month.

For the unfamiliar, the costumes are noted for looking like spacesuits and the more ambitious trick-or-treaters may take on the shape of the game’s avatars, which is reminiscent of a jelly bean.

Not only are searches for “Among Us” at an all-time high, but searches for “astronaut costume” have been out of the stratosphere this Halloween season.

Searches for “Among Us costume” are soaring in October, with 66.9k. Meanwhile, “Fortnite costume” is receiving just 17.5k searches over the past month.

7. PG-Rated Halloween movies are dominating slasher flicks.

Hocus Pocus (1993) is all the rage 27 years later.

Halloween movies are typically thought of as scary horror movies with terrifying characters such as Freddy Krueger, Jason, or Chucky. But it’s the PG-rated movies people are watching the most.

Debates on who Hollywood’s best Halloween character rage on, and it’s…Bette Midler?

Hocus Pocus, a 1993 film starring Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker, leads the way with an astounding 283.3k searches over the last 30 days. Packs of face masks depicting the stars faces are making a killing, with nearly $24k in revenue over the last month. Disney’s Halloweentown (117.9k) and Ghostbusters (84.4k) are also being searched for at a rapid rate over the past month.

Meanwhile, the fear-seekers are searching for Scream (64.4k), Nightmare on Elm Street (57k), and Chucky (43.2k) to fulfill their fix for frights. While we’re sure Jason Voorhees and the Halloween franchise is a favorite, it’s impossible to attribute searches for “Halloween” to the franchise.

For more Halloween 2020 trends, create a Viral Launch account and start a free trial to get started.

Be sure to share any spooky finds or holiday plans in the comments and enjoy Halloween 2020 responsibly!