University of Oulu

Hall, C. Michael, Peter Fieger, Girish Prayag, and David Dyason. 2021. Panic Buying and Consumption Displacement during COVID-19: Evidence from New Zealand. Economies 9: 46.

Panic buying and consumption displacement during COVID-19 : evidence from New Zealand

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Author: Hall, C. Michael1,2,3,4; Fieger, Peter5,6; Prayag, Girish7;
Organizations: 1Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
2Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Campus Helsingborg, Lund University, 25108 Helsingborg, Sweden
3Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Ekonomihögskolan, Linnéuniversitet, Universitetskajen, Landgången 6, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden
5School of Education, Federation University, Mount Helen, VIC 2351, Australia
6Business School, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
7UC Business School, Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
8Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
9TRADE Research Entity, School of Economic Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-16


Panic buying and hoarding behavior is a significant component of crisis- and disasterrelated consumption displacement that has received considerable attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding such purchasing and stockpiling behavior provides critical information for government, disaster managers and the retail sector, as well as policy makers to adjust crisis response strategies and to better understand disaster management, including preparedness and response strategies. This study examines consumer purchasing behavior, retail spending and transactional data for different retail sectors between January 2017 and December 2020 using data for the greater Christchurch region in New Zealand. Once COVID-19-related panic buying began, overall spending increased sharply in anticipation of lockdowns. Transactional spending increased and subsided only slowly to a level higher than pre lockdown. The magnitude of the panic buying event far exceeded historical seasonal patterns of consumer spending outside of Christmas, Easter and Black Friday, although daily spending levels were comparable to such consumption events. The results of the study highlight the importance of comparing panic buying to other events in terms of purchasing motivations and also considering that so-called panic buying may contribute to greater individual and household resilience. The volume of sales alone is not adequate to define panic buying. Instead, the extent of divergence from the normal daily spending value per retail transaction of a given population provides a much more accurate characteristic of panic buying.

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Series: Economies
ISSN: 2227-7099
ISSN-E: 2227-7099
ISSN-L: 2227-7099
Volume: 9
Issue: 2
Article number: 46
DOI: 10.3390/economies9020046
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (