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Coronavirus: Consumer goods fly off shelves as customers resort to panic-buying

BusinessToday.In     March 16, 2020

From ecommerce platforms and online grocery stores to brick and mortar stores and retail chains, have witnessed a surge in sale of consumer goods as customers are panic-buying. Panic buying amid coronavirus fears has come as governments across states have shut down schools, colleges, malls, restaurants, theatres and have ordered cancellation of all impending meetings, seminars, conferences and events.  

Some items such as sanitisers have gone off shelves and are even unavailable online on some platforms. Deliveries have been delayed due to the increase in orders. However, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have said that there are no shortages and that they will speed up supplies to shops, as reported in The Economic Times. Companies are also mulling steps to curb hoarding. FMCG sales are up 15-45 per cent, as mentioned in the daily.

In metros such as Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad as well as in Pune, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad products such as rice, flour, sugar, biscuit, tea, instant noodles, soaps, butter, oil, handwash, floor cleaners are flying off the shelves. Floor cleaners, honey, chyawanprash, toilet paper, tissues and wet wipes are some of the big sellers. Sites such as Grofers have put a cap on the number of a particular item that one wishes to purchase to dissuade hoarding.

Also read: Coronavirus in India Live Updates: Global airlines may go bankrupt if no action taken, says aviation body

Closure of offices, malls, colleges, multiplexes by governments and directions to employees to work from home have boosted in-home consumption.

Mayank Shah, Parle Products' category head said, "Panic buying is happening and likely to continue for at least one-two weeks more. We have received frenzied calls from the trade to supply stock since the pipeline has become almost dry. There is 15-20 per cent increase over usual sales."

E-grocers Bigbasket and Grofers have also witnessed a sharp increase in sales over the weekend. Bigbasket CEO Hari Menon also said that the size of the baskets have increased by 15-20 per cent.

Meanwhile, in the UK, retailers have urged customers to be considerate in their shopping so that others are not left without essential items. Retailers said that online and click-and-collect services are at "full capacity", as mentioned in a report in BBC. US President Donald Trump also asked people to not hoard. "You don't have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax," he said at a press conference. 

Also read: Orders double up for Bigbasket, Grofers due to coronavirus

Also read: Coronavirus: Trump tells Americans to not hoard groceries, supplies

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