Corona Virus empties the toiletry shelves in the Australian supermarket

Not a single roll of toilet paper inside the Australian supermarket!
The demand for the toilet is inclining in the Australian market and to cope,  manufacturers are boosting the production to keep up with the surge in demand driven by the Corona Virus.
In recent days the shelves of the supermarkets have been raided by the nervous buyers with a fear of facing ‘toilet paper’ scarcity instead of food essentials- a situation of panic buying trend. The retail expert and professor at QUT, Gary Mortimer denoted, the two main reasons why supermarkets are running low on toilet paper. Supermarkets in Australia tend to operate in ‘Just in Time’ inventory. These retailers fill in enough stock to hold them over for a single day. Dr Mortimer says to ABC, “If we think about toilet paper, it tends to be light and bulky, which means supermarkets can only hold 100-250 packets in one aisle. If just half a dozen or a dozen people buy extra packets, suddenly the demand lifts very quickly, and it’s hard to keep that stock on the shelf.”

Corona Virus empties the toiletry shelves in the Australian supermarket - NepaliPage
Empty supermarket shelves in Western Sydney City of Blacktown. Photo: NepaliPage




Adding more to the panic buying scenario, associate professor of marketing at Macquarie University, Jana Bowden says, “I think toilet paper is a necessity, and it’s hard to imagine living without it … that’s a psychological driver. Another aspect is just the level of fear that has been perpetuated by stories in the media of what is happening in other countries. So, we have situations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, and there’s been news and reports on toilet paper shortages there.”

Adding more, “It’s been a topic of media conversation, and consumers are watching what is happening around the world with the coronavirus. And we are taking psychological cues and signals from these other international markets.”

Australia faces no shortage of toilet paper. Most of the toilet papers get manufactured in South Australia. Hence the country is not meeting the situation of crisis but undergoing the problem of replacement. Dr Bowden says,

“We have enough supply in the pipeline to satisfy the Australian market, but they are struggling with the issue of replacement.”
Another reason for toilet paper panic is the psychological factor of the crowd. Also known as the ‘herd behaviour’, the idea hits the person when they think that they will miss the opportunity to acquire it again in the latter days.

How to appease the herd-behaviour?

Dr Bowden suggests the people rationalize their purchase. Instead of getting a whooping 64 rolls of paper, one should calculate the use and settle down for 4 turns. Bowden says,
“If you would normally go through four toilet rolls a week, maybe buy eight, because that covers two weeks. You don’t need 64 rolls.” “It’s easier said than done but try not to fall into the trap of the ‘fear of missing out’. We can assure that the supply of toilet paper, in particular, is stable, according to the manufacturers.”

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Writer : Pabitra Dhakal

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