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 is widely observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contents

Panic buying 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 negative emotions 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. [1]

Panic buying is a type of herd behavior. [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." [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. [4]


Examples

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

See also

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Medical materials and other goods shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic quickly became a major issue of the pandemic. The matter of pandemic-related shortage has been studied in the past and has been documented in recent events. On the medical side, shortages of personal protective equipment such as medical masks, gloves, face shields, gear, sanitising products, are also joined by potential shortage of more advanced devices such as hospital beds, ICU beds, oxygen therapy, ventilators and ECMO devices. Human resources, especially in terms of medical staff, may be drained by the overwhelming extent of the epidemic and associated workload, together with losses by contamination, isolation, sickness or mortality among health care workers. Territories are differently equipped to face the pandemic. Various emergency measures have been taken to ramp up equipment levels such as purchases, while calls for donations, local 3D makers, volunteer staffing, mandatory draft, or seizure of stocks and factory lines have also occurred. Bidding wars between different countries and states over these items are reported to be a major issue, with price increases, orders seized by local government, or cancelled by selling company to be redirected to higher bidder. In some cases, medical workers have been ordered to not speak about these shortages of resources.

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