A Cursory Review Of The Impact Of Covid-19 On Panic-Buying

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S. Brijball Parumasur , P.D. Oodith , D. Oodith


The corona-virus outbreak fast evolved into a worldwide crisis.  This pandemic affected the triple–bottom line.  Critical to impacting on the economic profile of businesses is its impact on the supply chain as panic-buying triggered further panic.  Panic-buying refers to the sudden enlarged increase in demand.  During COVID-19, panic-buying extended across product categories from grocery stores to medical supplies (PPEs).  Panic purchasing, coupled with hoarding behaviour, caused sudden major inventory fluctuations.  This was experienced globally due to the corona virus for products like toilet rolls, detergents, hand sanitisers and masks.  The panic buying caused empty shelves which, when viewed by customers, put them into further panic and spiralled the demand for the empty shelves’ products, causing organisations to lose potential sales and jeopardizing efficient customer service.  The effect was felt by various stakeholders in the market.  Suppliers and distributors were overwhelmed with their need to keep their customers happy and in efforts to deliver to their loyal customers they played ‘Russian roulette’ with available stock.  In attempts to keep up and attempt to keep everyone happy, they also put the pressure on manufacturers, who faced an unexpected increase in demand, for which they did not necessarily have the required raw materials and staffing to produce. Evidently, COVID-19 has had a serious impact on businesses worldwide as well as their supply chains, which faced erratic bullwhip effects.  When one observes the increase in demand for cleaning contracts, it becomes clear that the impact on purchases is not just immediate but also extends from medium to long term.  During the COVID-19 crisis, the vacuuming of products also extended to medication (chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine).  Using a literature review approach to systematically collect prior research, views and experiences, this study aims to synthesize the impact of a natural disaster like COVID-19 on panic-buying and the triple bottom line.  Therefore, this study aims to assess the impact of covid-19 on people, healthcare systems and business (with the focus of the impact of consumer behaviour).

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