During the UK’s first lockdown in March, it became increasingly difficult to buy goods that you might need as people emptied supermarket shelves and stocked up on important household items.
Despite reassurances from supermarkets and supply chains that there is no need to panic buy and you can continue to shop as normal, areas of the country have seen people panic shopping for toilet roll, essential foods and other goods since Boris Johnson made the announcement that England would enter a second coronavirus lockdown on November 2 nd 2020.
People flock to buy toilet roll
The most infamous item that became difficult to find on supermarket shelves was toilet roll. While that may well sound like a very British problem, countries including Australia, Canada, the USA and Hong Kong also saw mass shortages in toilet tissue, with panic buying due to stay-at-home lockdown orders across these countries as the main contributing reason. The lockdown orders also had an unexpected side effect; people were no longer using public toilets or work toilets. These establishments use a different grade of toilet paper, so demand for that dropped through the floor, while demand for domestic toilet roll skyrocketed.
Home baking leads to shortages too
During the peak of the first lockdown, supermarkets across the country saw widespread shortages of flour. As families were stuck indoors, with children no longer at school, people turned to baking to help keep everyone entertained and while away the hours. On top of that, the UK wheat industry has warned that 2020 was its worst harvest in 40 years, so there’s a chance that flour shortages will crop up again.
Surges in demand affect things outside of groceries too
The lockdowns saw huge surges in demand for particular products, which manufacturers and retailers couldn’t keep up with. Home gym equipment was one of the most famous examples during the first lockdown; with gyms closing and restrictions on exercise outside, sales of exercise equipment, from dumbbells to exercise bikes, spiked by 5,800% in the UK. The surge in demand and recurring issues with slowdowns in production meant retailers just couldn’t keep up.
What can we learn from panic buying?
One thing that the pandemic has brought about has been very sudden and large changes in demand for certain products; no matter if it’s a dumbbell or something that’s going in a banana cake, very few industries have been left untouched by the impact of Covid-19. With that in mind, it’s never been more important to understand where you stand when it comes to your stock. Have you got enough to service demand? Are you already carrying too much given existing trading conditions? Do you have all of the information you need in order to make clear and early decisions given supply chain issues? Stocktaking can help you ensure you’re keeping your bottom line as large as possible in these times of turmoil – the more information you have, the better.
Abacus Valuers has worked with retailers for more than 30 years. If you’d like to find out about how stocktaking can help improve your bottom line during the global pandemic please give us a call on 01637 874609.