More consumers were panic buying ahead of the festive season and 66 percent of them were worried that supply chain disruptions would ruin their holiday shopping plans, according to a new global Oracle Retail consumer research study.
Oracle’s study, which polled 5 728 global consumers in September, showed that supply chain disruptions have left people feeling frustrated and that 66 percent of consumers were worried that this would ruin their holidays. As a result, 28 percent of consumers started their holiday shopping early, while 24 percent said they still planned to start their shopping earlier than usual.
Additionally, 27 percent of respondents were concerned that the items they planned to buy would not be in stock, 28 percent were worried these items would be more expensive and 38 percent feared these items would arrive later than anticipated.
Approximately 34 percent of consumers were considering buying more gift cards this year and this was also the gift 37 percent of respondents said they would want to receive the most.
The study found 26 percent of consumers said they planned to buy more fashion apparel, home goods and electronics. Beauty products were the gift of choice for 26 percent of the respondents, while footwear was hot on their heels for 22 percent of consumers.
After President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday evening, people with the means to do so have cleared the shelves in local stores of items such as:
Hand sanitiser, soap, and disinfectants like Dettol and Savlon
Bread, flour and instant yeast
Vegetables with a long shelf-life, such as onions, carrots and potatoes
Medical items such as latex gloves, rubbing alcohol, surgical spirits and plastic pump bottles
As schools, universities and creches across the country close until after the Easter weekend and many adults begin working from home, the focus has fallen on social distancing. Consumers have stocked up on essential items in order to avoid having to go to shops more often.
Multiple retail outlets have ramped up their online shopping platforms in an effort to meet demand for contactless delivery. Many items are out of stock, or snapped up as soon as they are in stores again.
Helping those most susceptible to Covid-19
In response to the unprecedented buying frenzy, Pick n Pay announced on Tuesday that it will open all its supermarkets and hypermarkets an hour earlier every Wednesday for customers over the age of 65.
This is to curb their exposure to coronavirus, as they are at a higher risk of morbidity and mortality associated with the disease. From 18 March 2020, stores will be open exclusively from 07:00 to 08:00.
It is expected that other major retailers will follow suit.
Stores such as Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Clicks have begun limiting the number of certain items purchased per customer. Clicks has limited medicines to six per person.
Woolworths has introduced the following limits online:
702’s Bongani Bingwa spoke to Gordon Institute of Business Science Dean, Professor Nicola Kleyn, to unpack the effects of panic buying.
“Academic papers suggest that panic buying is actually rational disaster buying. They are expecting that they may not have access to food stocks for some time.”
She said panic buying in the case of a disaster was a fairly short-lived phenomenon.
“When people feel that death is imminent, in most cases, they will panic. What we are seeing is psychological behaviour, it is less about the stock and more about what they are buying, like toilet paper.
“The hypothesis is that toilet paper is big and comfortable and relatively cheap for its size,” she says.
“Buying toilet paper is not panic buying, people want to feel that they have done what they needed to be prepared and toilet paper represents an easy purchase. People need to be conscious and rational when they go shopping. If people are stockpiling, they must be willing to offer those that can’t.”