According to a study in the Journal of Health Management (What? Wizards need to study, too), COVID-19 has had significant, and possibly lasting, effects on what people buy. One interesting point in the study shows that after a recession, even wealthy people who still have plenty of money change their buying habits to reduce frivolous purchases.
The conclusion? People change their buying habits in tough times, even when they didn’t have to. Their mood, not their means, changes their behavior.
We got to wondering, what are people buying now, and what can it tell us about their current mood (especially after such a challenging year)?
To get a sense of it, we looked at the 30 best-selling pins from our stock catalog. They change constantly, so it’s like a snapshot of what’s happening at a singular point in time.
There’s a lot of good in what we found. Pin purchase patterns have revealed that people are looking for comfort in the familiar, are ready to support everyone who needs it, and are finding distraction in some pretty magical places.
People are hungry for adventure
Pin buyers are trippin’. Or at least they wish they were. Of the 30 top-selling WizardPins pins, four were related to travel, adventure, or just getting away from it all.
For example, people have been pining for this compass pin:
Is there a more direct symbol of travel than a compass? They guide us and remind us that there are so many directions we can go.
Sailors, perhaps the ultimate travelers, have long gotten compass tattoos for good luck and to remind them of the way home.
And check out this retro van design:
International travel has been difficult to impossible this year, so Americans have been hitting the road (sales of travel trailers hit an all time high).
Some people are looking to escape by sea, as this pin suggests.
It’s from the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Sure, it’s a story of revenge and redemption, but it’s set against a backdrop of seafaring adventure.
We can only imagine that people are dreaming of mai tais on a tropical beach when they buy this pin.
Fun fact about coconuts: they kill 10x more people every year than sharks do. We’re reasonably certain this pin is harmless, though.
Food is comfort
The need to feed sits at the base of our most primal requirements. So when things get rough, like during an international pandemic, it’s not surprising that our thoughts turn to food.
Exhibit A: Everyone is baking bread. Exhibit B: Four of our top-selling pins fall in the food-and-drink category.
Check out this popular pin, which says that coffee is love.
Imagine wrapping both hands around a warm mug of coffee, sitting on the couch with your knees tucked to your chest, swaddled in your biggest knit sweater ... that’s comfort.
Familiarity and food are the themes of this big ol’ burger pin.
Familiarity makes us feel safe and secure. Burgers are a familiar food. They’re on most lists of foods Americans miss when they travel.
The final palatable pin from our top 30 list represents one of the greatest underdog stories in recent food history.
Few people over the age of 25 (and not from Southern California) remember guacamole being a regular part of their daily diet. The avocado has since taken over the world, even jumping the chip and landing on our toast.
Pin purchasers want to be reminded of this succulent spreadable.
Irony is not dead (we hope)
This flat earth pin continues to be popular. We assume it’s because of the design or out of a sense of irony.
Some people do see it as a realistic representation of our planet. Charles Kenneth Johnson is one of the most famous among them. He took over the Flat Earth Society and became a minor celebrity in the 1970s and even landed on a TV commercial. To be fair, Johnson was from Texas, and parts of Texas are really flat.
Well, no matter where you live or what you believe, you can have this pin for yourself. We ship all over the globe.
Buyers want whimsy
A whimsical thing is playful, funny, and humorous. Whimsical things are a good distraction, and a distraction is a good thing when times are challenging.
It seems that pinheads feel the same, because these five top-selling pins are freakin’ full of whimsy.
Two of the five are pins in the Kawaii theme. Kawaii is a Japanese term that literally means “cuteness.”
Check out the silly smile and rosy cheeks on this little guy.
Pets are also great for reducing stress, so this Kawaii cat pin has a double dose of depression destruction.
By the way, did you know cats first domesticated humans around 12,000 BCE, so 14,000 years ago?
Speaking of cats, this top 30 pin is ready for the billboard top 40.
We assume he’ll be singing the song of his people at 2 a.m. when everyone is asleep.
This fun little pin gives off a positive vibe, featuring a slang term meaning “excellent” or “fantastic.”
Cool beans, indeed.
The last of the whimsical five pins on the best-selling list is this turtle-donut mashup.
The pin is adorable, but evolutionarily speaking, this guy wouldn’t stand a chance in the wild. Or the food court.
People are celebrating some shattered glass ceilings
In 2020 several women crashed through glass ceilings that have existed for a long time. Pin folk are celebrating it with these three pins that landed high on the list of best-sellers.
Take this top seller, for example.
The pin makes an interesting point, but with our first female vice president-elect, it also seems that the present is female.
This pin is officially an homage to the film Jurassic Park.
But it could just as easily describe Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, two astronauts who completed the first all-female spacewalk.
This pin, styled after Mexican-born artist Frida Kahlo, has also surfaced as a fan favorite.
Kahlo overcame polio and a debilitating car accident to become one of Mexico’s most prominent and well-recognized painters.
There’s magic and mysticism in the air
Two of our top-tier pins suggest that even in the age of science, a little magic is always on our mind. Since Harry Potter is a $25 billion industry, and lots of people in 2020 started studying witchcraft, it’s a viable theme.
These little spell books probably hold the secrets to everlasting life and the perfect avocado toast.
This hamsa hand is an ancient symbol of protection.
Some hamsa tips: If you pin this facing up, you’re protected against evil. Turn it around, and you’re open to good luck and abundance. It’s a real win-win kinda pin.
We have to admit, we find this magical trend enchanting.
Acceptance is no longer the exception
This year, Disney introduced its first openly gay character in one of its animated movies. Judging by the number of Pride-related pins on the top 30 list, it’s not just the House of Mouse that’s opening it’s doors to this community.
These two popular pins put a little heart in the famous symbol of LGBTQ pride.
A little history: Gilbert Baker designed the first rainbow flag back in 1978.
This pin features a catchphrase that has emerged as a motto for the LGBTQ community and their supporters.
It’s tough logic to refute.
The Office still Rainn’s supreme
The Office ended its nine-season run on network television in 2013. But the love affair with the scrappy Scrantonians doesn’t seem to have faded (it was the most-watched show on Netflix before it was moved to NBC Universal).
This delightful reminder of Michael Scott—aka best boss ever— and his cringe-inducing humor is consistently in the top 10 pin list here at WizardPins.
Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute was one of the greatest supporting-actor performances ever.
If pin sales are any pindication, people still support the assistant (to the) regional manager at Dunder Mifflin Scranton.
We reminisce about the “before times”
It seems that all this self-isolation has us thinking about the days long before a pandemic, music streaming, or heck, even before compact discs were a thing.
Case in point: these two pins from a music era gone by.
If you’re old enough, you know how to rewind the tape when it falls out of the cassette, and how much of a pain making a mixtape by recording off the radio was.
Of course, you had to have something to play your cassettes on. Maybe that’s why this pin also landed in the top 30.
Sure, carrying around one of these musical monsters likely contributed to your chronic back pain. But how else were you going to tote around your tunes?
Now have a look at this pin of a bygone era.
You can almost hear the call for “all skate” when you pin this little piece of nostalgia to your jean jacket.
Sadly, there are fewer and fewer skaters limboing and twirling around the rink. Happily, this pin still took the number 12 spot.
We’re ready to support each otherMr. Rogers used to say that in times of trouble, we should “look for the helpers.” Well, if these pins are any indication, there are a lot of pinophiles out there who are ready to lend a supportive nod.
This punny little pin is our number three on our best-seller list.
Yes, it’s a zombie that probably wants to eat your brain, but it also wants you to know that you’re doing OK.
The final pin on our list has a simple message.
Sometimes, pins can say what we’re thinking even better than we can ourselves.
Let life influence your pin artWe learned a lot by digging into what pins people are purchasing. It’s great to see so many positive messages.
It’s also nice to learn what people are thinking so you can provide the types of pins they want to buy. Hopefully, this list gives you some pinspiration for pins you can design and sell.