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US interest in guns and home fitness gear surges during pandemic

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Interest has jumped over 300 percent, according to Yelp data

Illustration by Alex Castro and Grayson Blackmon / The Verge

A new report published by Yelp shows the changing interests of US consumers during the novel coronavirus pandemic. It paints a rather bleak portrait of local economies being driven by fear and restlessness, and a society in withdrawal.

Americans are increasingly focused on survival in this period of uncertainty. Interest in guns and ammunition is up 360 percent, according to Yelp’s data, while interest in buying water is up 166 percent, and groceries is up 160 percent. Restaurant closures have created an uptick in food delivery interest (up 59 percent) as you’d expect, as well as people looking for ways to buy direct from farmers (up 405 percent).

And you know what goes great with guns? Alcohol. Interest in buying Bud and booze is up 63 percent, according to Yelp.

Data: Yelp

Gym closures have led to a 344 percent increase in interest in home fitness equipment, according to Yelp’s data. That jibes with the New York Times reporting a back-to-basics exercise boom that has more people running. It’s also good news for companies like Peloton which makes connected home gyms for people fortunate enough to maintain an income while sheltering at home.

Similarly, interest in hiking is up 116 percent, while interest in local parks is up 53 percent, as both allow people to be outdoors while maintaining good social distancing.

Yelp is reporting a declining interest in restaurants (down 54 percent) and nightlife activities in general (down 69 percent). Interest in bridal stores is down 53 percent as weddings now endanger your family in addition to your savings.

Data: Yelp

Yelp’s report is limited to the US market, where it’s particularly popular in part due to its tight integration with Apple Maps. The platform’s analysis is based on data gathered between March 8 and March 18th, with “interest” measured by counting “the many actions people take to connect with businesses on Yelp, such as viewing their business page or posting reviews.”

The trends certainly ring true for anyone on Earth currently living inside the grip of the escalating pandemic.