Australian supermarkets may be in the midst of imposing limits on how many packets of toilet paper shoppers can put in their trolleys, but it appears we’re not the only country to be frantically stocking up on the household necessity.
British Supermarket chains have also begun rationing out supplies of toilet paper, along with other household goods and non-perishable foods, according to The Guardian, while homegrown ethical toilet paper brand Who Gives a Crap is seeing its sales take off in the UK too.
Last week, Who Gives A Crap founder and chief Simon Griffiths revealed local sales for his social enterprise had jumped by 1000%, as panic buying of toilet paper took hold across the country.
It came as a shock to the business, and led to it declaring itself out of stock.
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On Friday evening Australian time, Griffiths tweeted that he was expecting a “run” on stock for the UK.
Panic buying UK ???? facts from @WhoGivesACrapTP‘s data:
– Yesterday’s sales up 4x. Looks like today’s sales (9.45am now) could be 7-8x+. Expecting a run this weekend
– Northampton’s sales spiking the hardest. In Greater London it’s Southall & Croydon ????
– Belfast looking chill ????♂️
— Simon Griffiths (@simongriffiths) March 7, 2020
Who Gives A Crap’s sales were four times more than normal on Thursday, he said, and he was looking at data that would suggest Friday’s sales in the UK would be seven or eight times higher than average.
“Northampton’s sales spiking the hardest. In Greater London it’s Southall and Croydon.
“Belfast looking chill.”
Griffiths added that while US consumers had ordered more toilet paper last week, UK buyers were “now buying far more aggressively than the US”.
I wonder how this is changing over time – @WhoGivesACrapTP sales data showed the US panic buying more last week, but the UK has really shot up in the last 4 days and is now buying far more aggressively than the US https://t.co/8jD3Ffll4F
— Simon Griffiths (@simongriffiths) March 8, 2020
Speaking to SmartCompany last week, Griffiths said he believes there are two main explanations as to why people are stockpiling toilet paper.
“One is that some people are preparing to potentially stay inside for a long period of time,” he said.
“Prescription drugs and sanitary items — that’s the kind of stuff they want to be stockpiling.”
He said some people may also be panic buying because they are worried companies will have to shut down because of coronavirus, meaning products will no longer be available.
“As a result, there has been a bit of fear, and then a bit of FOMO, which has driven the final piece of panic buying over the line,” Griffiths said.
Who Gives a Crap is a social enterprise and puts 50% of profits towards building toilets and improving sanitation in developing countries.
Booming sales means there is even greater opportunity to talk about the bigger picture, Griffiths said.
“We’re panicking about not having toilet paper. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the 2.3 billion that don’t even have access to a toilet,” he said.