BANGKOK -- For the global shipping industry, chaos began with the tap of a million "buy now" buttons.
In the second half of 2020, Americans, trapped at home by the pandemic, started buying weighted blankets, Crocs, giant fleece hoodies, ring lights and desks at a relentless pace. One toilet paper manufacturer saw a 600% increase in sales over two weeks. Another retailer sold out of a year's stock of bird feeders in two months. Yoga leggings, milk frothers, air fryers and lawn mowers were crammed into shipping containers in the ports of Asia.