The Return of Hobbies

During COVID-19, people are picking up new hobbies and pastimes to help fill the extra time they’ve had. They’ve been staying at home and social distancing. For some, these new side activities help with self-care, education, and overall well-being; others are purely for entertainment.

As the growth of remote work continues, along with the restructuring of normalcy in households, we’re seeing a resurgence in nostalgic activities. They are a way to soothe everyday stress, as well as being an opportunity to gain new skill sets and re-connect with family.

From gardening, to learning a new language, or simply picking back up physical sports, people are connecting with this unexpected free time in a variety of ways that could lead to personal and professional growth. If these hobbies are maintained as reopening continues, we could see consumer-influenced innovation in technology, culinary, sports, and many other market categories.

While many people have reported an increase in the amount of time spent binge-watching TV, others took to the kitchen to sharpen their skills, and simply to provide comfort. Pandemic baking became a trend that spread across social media, including the resurgence of sourdough starters and breadmaking. This trend led to celebrity chefs, cooking personalities, and everyday cooks creating user-friendly digital content, starting baking clubs, and recipe-sharing in group pages filled with regional and family recipes. The movement further evolved into the resurgence of Depression-era recipes that utilized pantry staples, everyday tools, and  low-cost ingredients.

Other hobbies, including at-home exercise and digital workouts, are becoming more popular—especially due to limited gym access and the the lack of group sports opportunities. Guided classes including yoga, and HIIT home workouts that don’t require extra equipment—utilizing bodyweight instead—are growing an audience with people looking to maintain their health from home.

Gardening is another growing hobby during COVID-19 due to consumer concerns about food supply interruptions, as well as a way to supplement in-between grocery store visits and take-out options. Some consumers are using food waste hacks to grow their produce and herbs to save money for other necessities, while adding extra activity into their cooking routines. The increase in at-home cooking is naturally adding to the interest in gardening and composting as both a way to provide outdoor activity and supplement the household food supply.

The arrival of summer is leading to a cautious re-opening of businesses, retail stores, and restaurants as states forge ahead with plans to support economic growth. During the height of quarantine, those hobbies and forgotten pastimes filled extra time spent at home. As remote work grows, and the future of daily routines continues to change, it will be interesting to see how many of these activities continue to gain a following and where our interests will take us next.