Why Vice Industries Usually Succeed In Times of Crisis

May 1, 2020 10:03 am ET
Why Vice Industries Usually Succeed In Times of Crisis

Dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, social isolation, and economic uncertainty clearly affects us all differently, but we can all agree stress levels have risen significantly in the last few months. Many households are handling this awkward time in the best ways they know how. With changes to daily routines being dramatically shifted, schedules and norms tend to take a side step. In hopes of waiting this all out, people are going to do what they need to do to get by and indulge in their own vices to alleviate stress.

Self-isolation Increases Sales

The ongoing lockdowns across many countries are unique and little is known of the effects on the general population of chronic isolation (with respect to health and wellbeing) in these circumstances. With social-distancing and self-isolation widely acknowledged as the best ways to counter the spread of COVID-19, demand for goods such as cannabis, alcohol, and even sex tech products have skyrocketed. It is really no surprise that escapism is more popular during a global crisis.

Prohibition To Inhibition: Vices Relieves Stress

This safer at home inhibition shows with cannabis and alcohol products seeing an increase in overall sales and per order purchases from 30 to 300 percent higher than either previous weeks or the same time last year. These increases are notable in all elements of these vice industries. While the sales spikes may reveal something about the psychology of consumers amid the pandemic, the surge mirrors a broader panic-buying trend that has stripped supermarket shelves across the globe.

Surprise! It’s true that some people use alcohol and cannabis to relieve stress. They can be pretty effective actually. Alcohol is a downer, so alcohol is a sedative. If you are all wound up and your heart’s beating and you’re stressed out, alcohol can definitely make those symptoms of stress lessen. Among others, one issue is that alcohol interferes with your ability to make good decisions, and that’s a problem, particularly if you’re stressed. The more we know now about cannabis, shows that it too can produce relaxing feelings but generally with less significant side effects.

Is There An Upside?

Even Though sales of vice industry products reveal interesting data sets on human behavior during a global pandemic in the 21st century, we have to wonder; will COVID-19 increase awareness of all the ways to get high and have fun at home, or is this a short-term trend? With current culture becoming increasingly supportive of open support for personal choices in many contexts, I believe this will and already has created these conversations.

It is just as common now to talk about smoking a joint, just like having a glass of wine or a beer. Perhaps this whole experience could usher in a more open mindset in terms of how people unwind behind closed doors. What constitutes “moral” behavior is ultimately a subject left to shifting attitudes and legal landscapes. Having an extended period where nearly everyone is stuck at home could absolutely change social norms around how people look at those sorts of decisions.

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