Sales of toilet paper, disinfectants and soaps are rising once again in Germany, the country’s statistics office announced on Thursday, highlighting fears of an imminent lockdown as Europe’s largest economy sees a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
The Federal Statistical Office of Germany tweeted that “hamster purchases are starting again,” pointing to the colloquial term for panic buying or hoarding.
In the past week, sales of toilet paper were almost twice as high as pre-crisis levels while sales of disinfectant and soaps were up three quarters and two thirds respectively.
Sales of other essentials like rice, yeast and flour also saw significant increases in the past week.
10%. That the percentage of German consumers who are planning on stocking up on toilet paper, pasta and other everyday items over the next two weeks, a survey conducted by YouGov found.
Unlike the April lockdown, where massive hoarding led to empty store shelves, German retailers claim that they are better prepared this time. “After the events we saw earlier this year, we are monitoring changes in demand more closely than ever to ensure that nothing is in short supply”, discount retailer Aldi Süd told news website Local.de last week. Another retailer Lidl also said it was “well prepared” to react quickly and provide stores with “sufficient supplies” if demand increases.
Germany’s Agriculture Minister, Julia Klöckner, has argued that there is no reason to panic buy. The minister told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung this week: “Whoever is hoarding is not only acting illogically but also with a lack of solidarity. In the end, a lot of these items end up in the bin.” She added, “If everyone shops normally, we won’t have to face the prospect of empty shelves.”
Germany was initially praised for its handling of the pandemic as it managed to control the spread better than other major nations in Europe like France, Spain, Italy and the U.K. However, case numbers in the country have increased steadily in recent weeks. On Thursday, Germany reported 10,000 new Covid-19 cases for the very first time. After a lull in the summer, Europe has re-emerged as a global hotspot for the virus, which has killed over 200,000 in the continent. Apart from Germany, the Czech Republic also had a record number of new cases on Thursday. On Wednesday, Italy also hit its record for most new Covid-19 cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic and Spain became the first country in Western Europe to top 1 million infections.
The early months of the pandemic saw widespread toilet paper shortages as consumers rushed to supermarkets around the world—including in Japan, Australia and the U.S.—to stock up in excess quantities. Pictures at the time showed meters of empty supermarket shelves, despite authorities warning against the baffling move, which experts and psychologists said was in part down to a fear of missing out.
Source: Forbes – Business