Panic buying

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Panic buying (alternatively hyphenated as panic-buying; also known as panic purchasing) 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_sentence_0

Panic buying during health crises is influenced by "(1) individuals' perception of the threat of a health crisis and scarcity of products; (2) fear of the unknown, which is caused by emotional pressure and uncertainty; (3) coping behaviour, which views panic buying as a venue to relieve anxiety and regain control over the crisis; and (4) social psychological factors, which account for the influence of the social network of an individual." Panic buying_sentence_1

Panic buying is a type of herd behavior. Panic buying_sentence_2

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." Panic buying_sentence_3

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. Panic buying_sentence_4

Examples Panic buying_section_0

Panic buying occurred before, during, or following: Panic buying_sentence_5

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  • The First and Second World WarsPanic buying_item_0_0
  • The 1918–1919 global influenza pandemic ("Spanish flu") – led to the panic buying of quinine and other remedies for influenza and its symptoms from pharmacists and doctors' surgeries. Sales of Vicks VapoRub increased from $900,000 to $2.9 million in a year.Panic buying_item_0_1
  • In the First Austrian Republic in 1922, hyperinflation and the rapid depreciation of the Austrian krone led to panic buying and food hoarding, which continued until a League of Nations-backed rescue prevented an economic collapse.Panic buying_item_0_2
  • 1943 Bengal faminePanic buying_item_0_3
  • 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis – led to panic buying of canned foods in the United StatesPanic buying_item_0_4
  • The 1973 toilet paper panic in the United StatesPanic buying_item_0_5
  • The 1979 oil crisis led to panic buying of oil, led by Japan.Panic buying_item_0_6
  • The 1985 arrival of New Coke led many consumers to panic buy the original CokePanic buying_item_0_7
  • Year 2000 problem – foodPanic buying_item_0_8
  • 2001 – panic buying of metals, gold and oil on international commodity markets following the September 11 attacksPanic buying_item_0_9
  • In January and February 2003, during the SARS outbreak, several rounds of panic buying of various products (including salt, rice, vinegar, vegetable oil, antibiotics, masks, and traditional Chinese medicine) took place in the Chinese province of Guangdong and in neighboring areas such as Hainan and Hong Kong.Panic buying_item_0_10
  • 2000 and 2005 UK fuel protestsPanic buying_item_0_11
  • 2005 Jilin chemical plant explosions – water, foodPanic buying_item_0_12
  • 2008–2013 United States ammunition shortage – Panic buying by gun owners who feared tougher gun control laws under President Barack Obama was one cause of ammunition shortages.Panic buying_item_0_13
  • In September 2013 during the Venezuelan economic crisis, the Venezuelan government temporarily took over the Aragua-based Paper Manufacturing Company toilet paper plant to manage the "production, marketing and distribution" of toilet paper following months of depleted stocks of basic goods—including toilet paper—and foodstuffs, such as rice and cooking oil. Blame for the shortages was placed on "ill-conceived government policies such as price controls on basic goods and tight restrictions on foreign currency" and hoarding.Panic buying_item_0_14
  • Dakazo – Amid decreased support before the 2013 Venezuelan municipal elections, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced the military occupation of stores on 8 November 2013, proclaiming "Leave nothing on the shelves!" The announcement of lowered prices sparked looting in multiple cities across Venezuela. By the end of the Dakazo, many Venezuelan stores were left empty of their goods. A year later in November 2014, some stores still remained empty following the Dakazo.Panic buying_item_0_15
  • The COVID-19 pandemic – panic buying became a major international phenomenon in February and March 2020, when stores around the world were depleted of items such as face masks, food, bottled water, milk, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial wipes and painkillers. As a result, many retailers rationed the sale of these items. Online retailers eBay and Amazon began to pull certain items listed for sale by third parties such as toilet paper, face masks, pasta, canned vegetables, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes over price gouging concerns. As a result, Amazon restricted the sale of these items and others (such as thermometers and ventilators) to healthcare professionals and government agencies. The severity of the initial panic buying drew criticism; particularly from Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison. Also people panic renting self-storage went up during the onset of the pandemic.Panic buying_item_0_16

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See also Panic buying_section_1

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Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: buying.