- Three-quarter of respondents to a recent survey by Inmar Intelligence are encountering product shortages when grocery shopping, prompting a reprise of the hoarding that characterized the early days of the pandemic.
- Forty-six percent of participants in the research said they have built a stockpile of supplies because of the pandemic, and 69% indicated that they are considering replenishing their reserves in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases linked to the delta variant of the virus.
- The survey results underscore the high priority consumers are placing on having ample supplies of key items on hand.
The data from Inmar suggest that the wave of panic-buying that caused shortages of many goods last year and caught retailers off guard remains a vivid memory for many shoppers. That mindset appears to again be driving people to load up their carts when they see items they need instead of trusting that they'll be able to buy what they need later.
"It was kind of a stark reality [that] everybody thought, 'we're not going to be able to get our basic needs met,' and so it did certainly change the psyche of the shopper," said Rob Weisberg, senior vice president of e-commerce and technology services for Inmar. "There's probably a security blanket type feeling of knowing that if I go to my pantry I have extra rolls of toilet paper, I have hand sanitizer, I have canned foods or things along those lines."
Toilet paper (72%), hand sanitizer (62%), paper towels (55%) and soap (50%) top the list of items people have or plan to add to their reserves, according to Inmar's survey. Nearly half of respondents pointed to disinfecting wipes and canned goods as key items on their lists, while more than a fifth said they were focused on having supplies of alcoholic beverages on hand.
Almost two-thirds of the 1,000 respondents to the survey, which Inmar conducted July 30, indicated they created a stockpile based on the recommendations of members of their family. More than half said they opted to accumulate supplies of goods because of what they heard from friends.
Media coverage of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases as well as other unsettling events like wildfires, shootings and rising gas prices are also playing a key role in causing many shoppers to buy things when they see them available, according to the survey. Nearly 85% of respondents said news reports "fully" or "somewhat" influence their decisions to stockpile goods.
Inmar also found that people who have resisted stockpiling goods until now are unlikely to change their thinking despite the recent acceleration of the pandemic. Just 12% of these respondents to the survey said they intend to establish a stockpile in response to the spread of the delta variant, while 55% said they would not do so.