Supply chain demand is spiking as consumers flock to stores across the world in a rush to prepare for whatever may come because of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
Wholesalers like Macro and retailers like Woolworths yesterday experienced record sales as shelves were cleaned out by shoppers buying up tinned food, long life milk, and toilet paper.
However, whereas such stockpiling carries all the signs of panic buying, marketing academic Professor Nicole Kleyn says it’s not necessarily the case.
Speaking to a morning drive-time show, the dean at South Africa’s Gordon Institute of Business Science says the behaviour is in line with the kind of “rational disaster buying” often seen in countries like the US where hurricanes cause widespread community disruption.
“It’s entirely rational if people feel they are not going to have access to food for a period of time.”
Commenting on the tendency of shoppers to buy up toilet paper, Kleyn said this kind of behaviour pointed to deep psychological comfort-seeking.
“There is a theory going around that if it’s not panic buying it’s almost a sense of people wanting to go home and feel that they have done what needs to be prepared for.”
Speaking to 702 she said toilet paper in this regard represented an “easy purchase” that provided them with the sense that they were prepared for disastrous eventualities. – Eugene Goddard