The coronavirus crisis wasn’t a plague for Amazon’s business in 2020. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ wealth grew 63%, the company’s stock price rose 73%, and people are jumping on the Prime train at a record pace.
Many people are staying home to prevent getting COVID-19 and using Amazon to deliver nearly everything under the sun. But as demand for deliveries has risen, so have the prices of some products, according to a recent report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund.
The nonprofit analyzed 15 product categories, looking at the prices of 50 essential products in each category. The products examined were fulfilled by Amazon, a third party or both.
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund discovered that, of the 750 products it analyzed, prices of 136 at least doubled and 409 increased by more than 20% over the course of 2020.
Following is a look at the seven product categories for which the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found more than half of the product listings had increased in price by more than 20%.
Pulse oximeters measure the oxygen level in a person’s blood.
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 54% of listings for pulse oximeters on Amazon that it examined had increased in price by more than 20% in 2020 — and 5% of those listings had at least doubled in price.
In 2020, 59% of Amazon listings for this anti-COVID-19 essential increased in price by more than 20%, and 11% of those at least doubled in price, according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis. The nonprofit also found one instance in which a three-bottle pack of foaming hand soap refills increased in price from $25.57 to $72.94.
Perhaps not surprisingly, soap is among the pandemic must-haves that Money Talks News cites in “20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling.”
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund discovered that 59% of Amazon listings for these fever-detectors that the nonprofit examined increased in price by more than 20% in 2020, and nearly one-quarter at least doubled in price. One electronic thermometer’s price rose from $254.78 to $401.76.
If you want to go different routes in measuring temperatures for your family, The New York Times’ Wirecutter reviews in-ear and forehead thermometers.
These handy products greatly enhance outdoor gatherings, and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 61% of examined Amazon listings for these heaters increased in price by more than 20%, and 45% at least doubled in price in 2020.
If a patio heater isn’t your style, AARP has some ideas to stay warm outside during a time when meeting up indoors can be risky.
Cloth face masks
In 2020, 66% of the Amazon listings for cloth face masks in the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s analysis increased in price by at least 20%.
Increasingly, more health experts are advising people to wear two face coverings for protection from the coronavirus, and Money Talks News breaks down the pros and cons of doubling up in “Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?”
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 77% of the Amazon listings for hand sanitizers that it examined increased in price by more than 20% in 2020, with nearly a quarter of those doubling in price. One hand sanitizer’s price rose from $33.13 to $178.20.
If you want to save some money and DIY your sanitizer, Money Talks News has instructions for making your own.
In 2020, 78% of the Amazon listings for disinfectant wipes increased in price by at least 20%, according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis.
Despite their popularity, wipes are not the only way to kill coronavirus germs. Money Talks News details some cheaper options in “5 Cleaning Products You Should Be Using in 2021.”
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