Toilet paper is the media’s poster child for excessive stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Months into the crisis, panicked buyers are still stripping grocery store shelves, stockpiling an item seemingly useless in a health emergency and stressing the limits of the supply chain to meet demand for other consumers.
If you’re asking yourself why some buyers react this way, you’re not alone. Mehdi Hossain, a University of Rhode Island assistant professor of marketing, is asking the same question – in a more formal way.
Backed by a $135,825 grant from the National Science Foundation, Hossain is researching the phenomenon of panic buying and stockpiling – amid the coronavirus crisis – to try to get at the psychological roots of excessive stockpiling. The study, which is expected to be completed in September, will develop messaging to mitigate the consumer behavior now and for future crises…