The surprisingly well-educated and mature group who fuelled the bizarre toilet roll buying panic which saw shelves stripped bare – and they’ve got PLENTY to answer for
- University-educated mothers under 55 are the most likely to stockpile goods
- Their greatest fear is running out of vital household supplies for their family
- The University of Adelaide study surveyed 1000 consumers to identify the group
- Research found one in four shoppers were panic buyers if a lockdown loomed
Well-heeled soccer mum-types are the most likely to strip supermarket shelves bare and panic buy toilet rolls before a lockdown, new Australian research has found.
A study by the University of Adelaide has found the main culprits behind the shoppers’ scourge in a Covid crisis will be university-educated mothers under 55.
And if they fear a pandemic outbreak is looming, they will drive their SUV straight to the nearest Coles or Woolworths to stock up big for their family, researchers found.
‘Excess buyers have a tendency to react negatively when faced with uncertainty,’ food economics Professor Wendy Umberger told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Well-heeled soccer mum-types are the most likely to strip supermarket shelves bare and panic buy toilet rolls before a lockdown, new Australian research has found (stock image)
‘It is people who are more likely to become anxious when there is a little bit of uncertainty in their day to day life.
‘It’s human nature that they are being risk averse. They are thinking about the ‘what if scenario’.’
A study of 1,000 consumers found one in four were panic buyers, with the soccer mum-types – who also have a deep trust in the federal government – being the single largest group.
Their greatest fear, said Professor Umberger, was their family being unable to find crucial essentials and their everyday household supplies running short.
And they responded to crisis with an unusually high determination to prevent that happening by overloading their trollies with home and pantry basics as a result.
If the well-to-do mothers fear a pandemic outbreak is looming, they will drive their SUV straight to the nearest Coles or Woolworths to stock up for their family, researchers found
The March lockdown in Victoria saw Woolworths implement restrictions on the quantities of staples like toilet rolls, rice, flour, pasta, sugar, mince and eggs.
But the supermarket chain today said there had so far been no panic buying during the current lockdown, but have imposed a two-pack limit on toilet roll just in case.
‘In recent times, we’ve found the vast majority of customers have been mindful of others in the community and bought products in reasonable quantities,’ a Woolworths spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We welcome that and hope it continues.’
Flinders University psychology lecturer Dr Dan Fassnacht said pandemic panic buying was sparked by the fear of missing out.
The sight of empty shelves in stores or in the media can prompt others to also stockpile in a form of ‘herd behaviour’ so they are not left behind, he said.
Flinders University psychology lecturer Dr Dan Fassnacht said pandemic panic buying was sparked by FOMO – fear of missing out
Buying up essentials can alleviate some of the stress of a lockdown with a sense of taking control of the situation – but that may only be for a short time.
Their research found many hoarders never even used all their massive stockpiles.
Dr Fassnacht’s team have now come up with a method for diagnosing problem shopping to aid treatment for those who end up with a panic buying habit.
‘Clients who show excessive buying behaviour commonly have difficulties in regulating their emotions, so buying or shopping is then used to feel better,’ added Professor Mike Kyrios who co-wrote diagnostic guidelines with Dr Fassnacht.
‘Paradoxically, if someone with Compulsive Buying-Shopping Disorder goes on a shopping trip, this will briefly improve their negative feelings, but will soon lead to strong feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment.’