Those trends are being analyzed to help decide whether to bring back laid-off retail workers when stores re-open.
RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom says California may be 'days, not weeks' from further reopening
The minute we learned shelter-in-place orders were coming, our shopping habits changed dramatically. We saw grocery stores stripped bare of goods that aren't even part of earthquake preparedness kits.
"I don't think we realized that people would be buying up all the flour, all the pasta, all the toilet paper," noted Rachel Massaro at the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. "Those are things we hadn't thought of to put in our earthquake supplies."
In our region, grocery spending spiked 81% in mid-March compared to a year earlier. Retail briefly went up 33%. Hobbies and toys sales shot up 29%. Specialty food and beverage purchases spiked 63%.
As lines grew intolerable to get into stores, spending shifted to online shopping.
Amazon Fresh saw a spike of 400%. Food was clearly a priority. Traditional retailers and restaurants left with only take-out orders fell victim to that. Over the first four weeks of shelter-in-place, their sales fell about 32%. As unemployment rose, clothing store sales dropped about 50%.
Reopening California: Huge crowd gathers in Sacramento, SF, SoCal to demand Gov. Newsom lift COVID-19 restriction
"We were already spending more than half our money on online purchases, and so because of that, we're more inclined to make that shift away from the brick and mortar stores," said Ms. Massaro.
A Costco executive indicates outdoor furniture sales are on the rise with warmer weather and with families cooped up seeking fresh air and sunshine. Discount pricing may be partly responsible.
The shift in spending to online and how the sheltering orders influenced what we stocked up on are now fodder for business owners to digest as they look ahead. Hard decisions will have to be made about re-opening stores and how many furloughed employees to bring back.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- Coronavirus data: See how the curve of COVID-19 cases is bending in each Bay Area county
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
- WATCH: ABC7's interactive town hall 'Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation'
- What Bay Area tenants need to know about rent payments, eviction amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- Coronavirus and the new normal of living in the San Francisco-Bay Area -- COVID-19 Diaries
- Happy hour goes virtual as people try to be sociable while social distancing during COVID-19 crisis
- Coronavirus Outbreak: Here's why you should practice 'social distancing'
- DRONEVIEW7: What the Bay Area looks like during the coronavirus shelter-in-place
- ABC7's drive around San Francisco shows empty streets, businesses shuttered
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions
- Asian community fighting racism, xenophobia, bigotry as world fights COVID-19