Panic buying

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Aftermath of selective panic buying of toilet paper during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

Panic buying (alternatively rendered as panic-buying) occurs when consumers buy unusually large amounts of a product in anticipation of, or after, a disaster or perceived disaster, or in anticipation of a large price increase or shortage.

Panic buying is a type of herd behavior.[1] It is of interest in consumer behavior theory, the broad field of economic study dealing with explanations for "collective action such as fads and fashions, stock market movements, runs on nondurable goods, buying sprees, hoarding, and banking panics."[2]

Panic-buying can lead to genuine shortages regardless of whether the risk of a shortage is real or perceived; the latter scenario is an example of self-fulfilling prophecy.[3]


Panic buying occurred before, during, or following these incidents:

See also


  1. ^ Bruce Jones & David Steven, The New Politics of Strategic Resources: Energy and Food Security Challenges in the 21st Century (eds. David Steven, Emily O'Brien & Bruce D. Jone: Brookings Institution Press, 2015), p. 12.
  2. ^ William M. Strahle & E. H. Bonfield. Understanding Consumer Panic: a Sociological Perspective, Advances in Consumer Research, Volume 16, 1989, eds. Thomas K. Srull, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, pp. 567-573.
  3. ^ "Toxic leak threat to Chinese city". The Repository. 2020-03-08.
  4. ^ Archibald Percival Wavell (1973). Moon, Penderel (ed.). Wavell: The Viceroy's Journal. Oxford University Press. p. 34.
  5. ^ Alice L. George (2003). Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis. The University of North Carolina Press. p. 78. ISBN 0807828289.
  6. ^ Mamdouch G. Salameh, "Oil Crises, Historical Perspective" in Concise Encyclopedia of the History of Energy (ed. Cutler J. Cleveland: Elsevier, 2009), p. 196.
  7. ^ Lohr, Steve (2000-01-01). "Technology and 2000 – Momentous Relief; Computers Prevail in First Hours of '00". New York Times.
  8. ^ "The Millenium Bug threatens food supply systems – developing countries are also vulnerable, FAO warns". Food and Agriculture Organization. 1999-04-19.
  9. ^ "Oil and gold prices spike". 2001-09-11.
  10. ^ Huiling Ding, Rhetoric of a Global Epidemic: Transcultural Communication about SARS (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), pp. 70, 72, 83, 103, 111.
  11. ^ Collins, Nick (2009-08-25). "EU ban on traditional lightbulbs prompts panic buying". The Telegraph.
  12. ^ "UK fuel blockades tumble". BBC News. 2000-09-14. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  13. ^ "Toxic leak threat to Chinese city". BBC News. 2005-11-23.
  14. ^ Danielle Kurtzleben, Here's why the ammunition shortage went on for years, Vox (1 July 2014).
  15. ^ Stephanie Clifford, Shop Owners Report Rise in Firearm Sales as Buyers Fear Possible New Laws, New York Times (22 December 2012).
  16. ^ Brochetto, Marilia; Botelho, Greg (2013-09-12). "Facing shortages, Venezuela takes over toilet paper factory". CNN. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  17. ^ a b c Lezama Aranguren, Erick (2014-11-09). "La resaca del "dakazo", un año después". El Tiempo. Archived from the original on 2014-11-12. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
  18. ^ "Watch: Looting in Venezuela after government launches attack on 'bourgeois parasites'". EuroNews. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
  19. ^ Sirletti, Sonia; Remondini, Chiara; Lepido, Daniele (2020-02-24). "Virus Outbreak Drives Italians to Panic-Buying of Masks and Food". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  20. ^ "The economics of the toilet paper panic—and why more stockpiling is inevitable". Macleans. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  21. ^ "Virus panic buying prompts toilet paper rationing in Australia". CTVNews. 2020-03-04. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  22. ^ "Coles and Woolworths further limit toilet paper purchases as supply sells out in an hour". Sydney Morning Herald. 2020-03-08. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  23. ^ "'It's crazy': Panic buying forces stores to limit purchases of toilet paper and masks". CNN. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
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