A headline about toilet paper is probably not one that you’d expect to read under normal circumstances. But these are strange times we are living in. 

There’s been a range of hilarious stories about loo roll in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, with the best so far coming via the Northern Territory News, which included an eight page insert that turned their daily paper into emergency wipes for readers. 

Fears around the coronavirus have sparked some truly bizarre behaviour, with panic buying seeing many Australians stockpiling a range of goods, toilet paper being the most conspicuous item. 

It is understandable that people want to prepare in case they are confined to their houses, but is it practical or justified to hoard items that run the risk of depleting supply? 

The dramatic response has left many supermarket aisles empty, devoid of toilet paper and even sparking a highly publicised scuffle between women at a Woolies location. 

This bulk buying frenzy has led the major supermarkets to enforce a limit on how many packets of toilet paper customers can purchase. Woolies have also introduced restrictions on other items including rice and hand sanitiser. 

Consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier explains that a combination needing to feel control and adhering to social norms is what drives this kind of behaviour. 

Seeing what other people are doing motivates others to follow suit – with the pandemic continuing to make headlines around the country and pictures of empty aisles shared widely on social media, it only encourages this behaviour even more.

Read on here to discover why so many people are panic buying during the pandemic.

Ekas Research
Ekas Research jaxon@ekas.com.au