Panic-Buying Toilet Paper Is a Bad Habit We Can Break
Oct. 12, 2021 -- How did toilet paper become the unofficial symbol of anxiety during the pandemic? Empty store shelves are a stark reminder of how COVID-19 has taken a toll on people.
At the beginning of the pandemic, stay-at-home orders drove people to buy large amounts of household goods, especially toilet paper. Demand grew to unforeseen heights in March 2020, with $1.45 billion in toilet paper sales in the 4-week period ending March 29, up 112% from the year before, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.
As the Delta variant drove a COVID-19 resurgence this summer, market research suggests that almost 1 in 2 Americans started stockpiling toilet paper again over fears that supply would run out. The higher demand causes ripples through the retail chain, and a growing number of stores are again facing challenges in stocking toilet paper.
Yet there is plenty for everyone if people don't stockpile too much, according to paper industry market analyst Ronalds Gonzalez, PhD, an associate professor of conversion economics and sustainability at North Carolina State University.