Stress management products

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.–Stressed out by this year’s pandemic, consumers have turned to at-home remedies to manage their anxieties, and sales of self-help books, candles and massaging appliances have jumped double digits this year, reported The NPD Group.

Limited on their ability to visit professional therapeutic services and the related cost savings, consumers bought 5.6 million massaging appliances in the six months ending in October, an 86% increase compared to the same time last year, according to NPD’s Checkout information. In addition, NPD said the average amount spent on massaging appliances between January and October was 38% higher than last year, making it the category with the third largest increase in average selling price across all general merchandise industries tracked by NPD. Dollar sales of massaging appliances continue to grow by more than 50% through this holiday season.

“Massaging appliances can solve a variety of consumer wellness needs that have escalated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joe Derochowski, NPD’s home industry advisor. “Whether it is to relieve stress, soothe a sore back from a makeshift home workspace or just find some much-needed relaxation, these products fit into the consumer’s broader quest for comfort during challenging times, which will make them a popular holiday gift to splurge on.”

NPD also saw growth in beauty categories that use the senses of smell and touch. Candles and home fragrance ancillary gift sets experienced double-digit dollar gains since March, as did body exfoliator skincare products, nail care, and nail tools and accessories, and that trend that has continued in the prestige beauty industry through the holiday season.

According to NPD BookScan, there was a growth trend in self-help and therapy subjects early in the COVID-19 pandemic, with double-digit gains in the 13 weeks ending August 1 this year, driven largely by books that focus on mindfulness, including titles like “Man’s Search For Meaning,” by Viktor E. Frankl and “Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World,” by Tara Brach. Self-help books also saw a spike during this period, driving unit sales up 22% compared to the prior period.