Here we go again. A year and a half after the initial pandemic shutdowns, Americans are once again panic-buying a surplus of toilet paper from grocery stores. The trend evolves as the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country.
So far, stores across the States have 14 percent less toilet paper than usual. Prices for these personal paper products have increased by eight percent within the past three weeks. Last year, stores saw a 40 percent decrease in toilet paper on the shelves. Since then, numbers have stabilized, but according to Daily Mail, many grocery and convenience chains reported that they still have not fully recovered from the market change.
“I don’t think we fully recovered from when the supply chain got hit,” said Arthur Ackles, Vice President of Massachusetts grocery chain Roche Bros. He added that products have been out of stock for days.
“Customers are asking a lot of questions,” Ackles said.
To keep up with the impending demand spike, companies like Proctor & Gamble Co., Bounty and Charmin are working 24/7. Already, these companies have increased their stocking levels up from 84 percent as of July 15. Of course, as we know from last year’s shutdowns, once the toilet paper shelves are empty, next will come the cleaning supplies. Last year, companies like Clorox and Lysol had to quickly open new warehouses and manufacturing plants to keep the shelves at grocery stores stocked. Clorox itself has seen an increase of 13.4 percent in profits since the start of the pandemic.
Thankfully, this year, we don’t have to home-make our disinfectant sprays just yet.
Pandemic Still Affects Sales in Toilet Paper and Other Crucial Products
Recent buying trends have also revealed another interesting change in demand and buyer behavior. It seems that, for a while, Americans started to return to their normal buying habits. Many opted to purchase more secondary items like makeup, drink mixers and breath fresheners. At first glance, this may seem to signify a hopeful return to a pre-COVID-19 life. However, medicine and personal care sales say otherwise.
Shoppers have also steadily bought more allergy and cold medicine since the start of the pandemic. While they may also be buying more frivolous items, this trend shows that buyers are still cautious about the presence of the virus.
Hoping to keep any symptoms or illnesses at bay, customers have continued to buy more of these over-the-counter medications since last year. According to Daily Mail, allergy and sinus products sales are up by 65.3 percent. Meanwhile, cough medicine is up 52 percent. Likely, this change in sales will continue until the number of Delta variant cases recedes and the amount of Americans with COVID-19 vaccinations increases. Currently, 53 percent of the population is vaccinated.