Second coronavirus stockpiling wave may be coming — and it goes beyond toilet paper, cleaning supplies
As winter encroaches, more than half of U.S. consumers are considering replenishing their assortment of goods and essential products that they had originally stockpiled during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, according to new research from data-driven technology-enabled services company Inmar Intelligence.
When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, 64% percent of shoppers created a stockpile of products as a result, according to Inmar.
Now, roughly 57% of shoppers are considering restocking due to growing fears of a "potential second wave of COVID-19," which could lead to another round of bare store shelves.
A shopper walks past empty shelves normally stocked with soaps, sanitizers, paper towels, and toilet paper at a Smart & Final grocery store, March 7, 2020 in Glendale, California.
Over a quarter of shoppers, roughly 27%, are considering revamping their winter stockpile due to concerns that certain products won't be in stock when they need them, the firm said. Meanwhile, another 27% are more concerned about the safety of in-store shopping if a second wave were to occur.
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Hygiene products topped shoppers' stockpile lists again, with 67% grabbing toilet paper and 57% searching for hand sanitizer -- both of which were in high demand in the early stages of the pandemic, and left store shelves empty and online retailers charging sky-high prices.
Canned goods (54%), disinfecting wipes (53%) and paper towels (52%) are also products consumers have stocked up on or plan to stock up on for the upcoming season.
Unlike their first stockpile, however, 45% of shoppers plan to invest in new items such as frozen dinners, pasta, snacks and cleaning products.
Overall, about 55% percent of shoppers are planning to purchase goods in-store, "suggesting that brick and mortar retailers are still crucial for consumers when purchasing everyday items," the firm said.
Inmar CEO David Mounts said that during this time of heightened concern, "shoppers will look to their local retailers to deliver consistency and seamless customer service," especially as the busy shopping season arrives.
"It will be important for retailers not only to prepare for this new surge in demand but also deliver value to customers during this time of crisis in order to maintain heightened trust and customer loyalty," Mounts said.
But it’s not yet clear when — if ever — buying habits will get back to normal.
Even when the pandemic subsides, about 54% of shoppers plan to keep a stockpile of goods due to fear of another emergency, the firm said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.