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Year in Review: How Strategist Readers Shopped in 2018

What was the year’s peak shopping day? And how many people bought Scott Rogowsky’s condoms?

Photo: Jay Guillermo
Photo: Jay Guillermo
Photo: Jay Guillermo

As much as we love talking about our own shopping finds on the Strategist, we’re also always interested in what our readers are buying. We typically take a look at your favorites in our biweekly Your Shopping Cart feature, and at the end of last year, we did a dive into the 25 best-selling products of 2018. But we had some more nagging questions. Like what was the best-selling thing in January versus June? What day of the week is the most popular for shopping? And did anyone buy Scott Rogowsky’s “snug-fit” condoms? Let’s take a deeper look into how you shopped in 2018.

What are our top sellers every month?

We’ll start with an easy one — which items sold the most through every month of last year? If you look at the number of items sold (rather than the amount of money spent), this is what we’ve got. Note the seasonal spikes in shopping patterns — hot water bottles in January, insect repellent in May, and gift-y toys in November.

What are the most popular Strategist shopping categories?

The categories that Strategist readers shop, by dollar amount.

Home and décor — which includes not just cheap-but-expensive-looking apartment items but also stuff like weighted blankets, sleeper sofas, and comforters — is a huge one for us, followed by clothing (T-shirts, anyone?), food and kitchen (blenders and knives), and electronics (which includes pricier items like wireless earbuds and digital cameras). We were surprised that beauty was our fifth best-selling category considering how often those items top our biweekly lists, but since we’re talking about money spent, it makes sense that expensive appliances and furniture should beat out $5 pimple patches.

What is Strategist’s busiest day of the week?

If you look at the pure number of users on the site, Monday is Strategist’s busiest day, with more than 11 million sessions — there’s an almost linear decline as the week progresses until we get a spike on Sundays, particularly in the evening (kind of like how grocery stores are always busiest those days, too).

What was the busiest shopping day of 2018?

The biggest day of 2018 — when we had the most users on the site, buying the most things — was Monday, December 17, 2018, more than a week before Christmas. As close as that was to the actual holiday, our biggest shopping day the year prior was Wednesday, December 20, 2017 (which gives us anxiety just thinking about it). We did notice in 2018 that inventory, especially at Amazon, ran out sooner than years before, but we’d also like to think that we’ve gotten readers in the habit of buying sooner in the season. Nevertheless, stores might put out Christmas wreaths in September, but our readers are still waiting until late December to buy gifts.

And what was the most popular holiday gift guide?

The biggest gift guide of the holiday season — the most searched for, the most bought from, the most read — was actually our big Amazon gift guide to dad gifts. We hope plenty of your dads enjoyed their acupressure mats and Danish slippers.

Okay, but outside of the November/December holiday season, what was Strategist’s peak holiday?

Photo: Screen Gems/Getty Images

It was … Father’s Day, beating out Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and even Mother’s Day. We assume that this is because you’re out treating mom to spa days and boozy brunches, but we love that we’re your one-stop shop for dad.

And what was the best-selling Father’s Day gift?

What was Strategist’s most shared story?

To come up with our list of the top 100 pens, Strategist writers and editors scribbled, doodled, and took notes with everything from fancy fountain pens and basic Bics. The result was a(n admittedly very subjective) list that got pen fanatics fired up on Facebook and Twitter, making it the most talked-about and argued-over post of 2018, even though it went up just before Thanksgiving.

And how about the best-selling pen from our top 100 pens?

Interestingly, our No. 2 pick (a Japanese ballpoint pen that Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens called “elegant, but in a retro way”) was our readers’ No. 1 favorite, probably because it was much cheaper than our $55 No. 1 (though our top pick did land on our January 2019 best-sellers list). Note that the blue Ohto that we tried ourselves recently sold out, but you can still find the yellow one for $15.

So readers like cheap, but what was the most expensive thing anyone bought?

That would be a very comfortable-looking, very pricey massage chair. The exact chair, an $8,000 Kahuna massage chair was actually not even one of the versions we included in our post on the best-reviewed massage chairs (at just 12 reviews, it didn’t pass muster), but someone must have clicked around and bought it anyway. Reader: Tell us if you liked it.

Do our readers …read? What was the best-selling book?

Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo makes an excellent gift for 1-year-olds, according to experts, and more than 2,000 of you bought one last year. When it comes to books for adults, the former First Lady’s debut memoir has sold more than 3 million copies (that was total, not just via the Strategist), and about 1,700 of you picked up copies for mom.

How many people bought the “snug-fit” condoms recommended by Scott from HQ?

The host of everyone’s favorite twice-daily smartphone game show got very real with the Strategist when he told us that he’s “not exactly blessed in the crotch department,” and prefers Caution Wear “snugger fit” condoms. Scott, you’re not alone: 117 of our readers were also looking for that “skinny jeans”–like fit.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

Year in Review: How Strategist Readers Shopped in 2018