Wholesalers primed to expect panic buying during lockdown two but not on same scale as lockdown one

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With England going into lockdown for the second time from Thursday 5th November, Kirsty Harris-Clarke, managing director of SalesOut, offers her predictions on the effect this will have on the wholesale market: “Our unrivalled level of data insight means that thanks to the first lockdown, at SalesOut we are in a position to predict how consumers’ buying behaviour will play out in lockdown 2. Of course in these unprecedented times, there is some level of uncertainty but we are keen to equip wholesalers with all the information they need to better prepare.

“The first week of lockdown in March mainly saw panic buying focusing on toilet tissue. However, this quickly escalated to supermarkets having to ration certain items in other categories. So panicked was the public that an extra 42m visits were made to supermarkets in just four days. This behaviour quickly flowed down to the convenience sector, with far more consumers than normal looking beyond the supermarket for essential items.

“We predict that although there will be panic buying in certain areas of the country for items in particular categories, as consumers now know what to expect and this has become the ‘new normal’, this will be significantly less and more manageable than in March.

“The key here is knowing the emotional and logical motivations which drive these behaviours. We found that after the initial weeks of the first lockdown, there were three logical motivations which drove consumer choices; shopping for dependents i.e. babies and pets (to ensure consumers are well stocked in the brands and products that their babies and pets are accustomed to), stocking up i.e.long life store cupboard items and facilitating good hand hygiene i.e. hygiene & cleanliness. Items such as pasta shapes, bleach, hand sanitizer, nappies and facial tissues featured high on the buying list.

“Panic buying is largely driven by fear of the unknown, potential scarcity of products and individual perceptions of the threat of the crisis, ultimately emotional motivations. However, now that consumers have grown more accustomed to the pandemic, it’s likely that the level of panic buying will not be as severe.

“We will be reviewing data from the first week of the latest lockdown and reporting the findings soon.”