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.


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]


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

See also

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