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Plague of Panic Buying Subsides

01 April 2020 - 11:50 by Mike Price

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Statistics published by Starling suggest that while the initial glut of panic buying spurred by the spread of the coronavirus in the UK was a serious problem nationally, consumers have since cooled off their spending and instead switched to using sites that offer safe shopping online for their retail needs.

The Guardian reports that the peak in panic buying actually occured14 days ago, roughly in conjunction with the beginning of the government’s increased intervention designed to curtail the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Within a week, online spending from customers who use Starling’s financial services had grown significantly to the point that it was more common for people to be placing online orders than to be visiting bricks and mortar outlets.

A spokesperson for the company said that in a typical week around a third of all retail spending is attributed to e-commerce transactions, but this had already passed the 50 per cent mark by the 24th of March following the national lockdown being brought into effect.

They also said that it was worth noting that data gleaned from the past two weeks of trading was still only able to show a small slice of the picture and that more insights would be available further down the line once trends could be tracked in the long term.

The good news for consumers is that it seems that panic buying and stockpiling of essential goods will ease off, giving supply chains and retailers time to catch up with the backlog and hopefully ensure that there are enough products available for everyone who needs them in the coming days and weeks.

Online shopping looks set to maintain its high level of usage while the lockdown is in effect, although restrictions on deliveries from certain non-essential retailers may create issues.