Hear that, Sharon? Currently banned from the local IGA, with 15 packets of Kleenex sitting in your laundry? Thanks to your little mid-March panic in aisle 15, Australians have now been considered the worst panic buying offenders during the pandemic.
A new study of the global ‘panic index’ amongst consumers has shown that Australia was the fastest nation to snatch their apocalyptic supply of non-perishable goods.
Just a friendly reminder that we were such menaces during the COVID-19 pandemic that Coles and Woolies had to block out an entire hour so the elderly and disabled could actually put food on the table. I hope you feel really proud of your doomsday pasta stash now, Michelle.
Mike Keane and Tim Neal from the University of New South Wales dove into a little Google data to discover that their home country are a bunch of greedy gremlins. While goods such as tinned soup, flour, grains, pasta, and toilet paper all increased in demand around the world, Aussies just took stockpiling to the nth degree.
“The experience of Australia is notable for the incredible speed and scale with which panic took hold in early March,” they noted. “Unlike in other countries, the escalation in panic does not appear to correspond with any significant increase in domestic COVID-19 cases.”
The researchers suggest that this could be attributed to delay in COVID-19 actually reaching Australia. While we watched the rest of the world slowly shut down, we pre-empted to the extreme.
Marketing lecturer from the Australian National University Andrew Hughes thinks FOMO is to blame.
“Once one person misses out on something, the FOMO principle kicks in,” he said. “In this day and age, once people think they are going to miss out on something, it triggers a fear that they’ll miss out on it.
“It could be an iPhone or it could be toilet paper.”