Is it really "panic buying"? Public perceptions and experiences of extra buying at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journal article


Ntontis, E., Vestergren, S., Saavedra, Patricio, Neville, F., Jurstakova, K., Cocking, C., Lay, S., Drury, J., Stott, Clifford, Reicher, Stephen and Vignoles, Vivian L 2022. Is it really "panic buying"? Public perceptions and experiences of extra buying at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE. 17 (2), p. e0264618. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0264618
AuthorsNtontis, E., Vestergren, S., Saavedra, Patricio, Neville, F., Jurstakova, K., Cocking, C., Lay, S., Drury, J., Stott, Clifford, Reicher, Stephen and Vignoles, Vivian L
AbstractShopping behaviour in response to extreme events is often characterized as "panic buying" which connotes irrationality and loss of control. However, "panic buying" has been criticized for attributing shopping behaviour to people's alleged psychological frailty while ignoring other psychological and structural factors that might be at play. We report a qualitative exploration of the experiences and understandings of shopping behaviour of members of the public at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 23 participants, we developed three themes. The first theme addresses people's understandings of "panic buying". When participants referred to "panic buying" they meant observed product shortages (rather than the underlying psychological processes that can lead to such behaviours), preparedness behaviours, or emotions such as fear and worry. The second theme focuses on the influence of the media and other people's behaviour in shaping subsequent shopping behaviours. The third theme addresses the meaningful motivations behind increased shopping, which participants described in terms of preparedness; some participants reported increased shopping behaviours as a response to other people stockpiling, to reduce their trips to supermarkets, or to prepare for product shortages and longer stays at home. Overall, despite frequently using the term 'panic', the irrationalist connotations of "panic buying" were largely absent from participants' accounts. Thus, "panic buying" is not a useful concept and should not be used as it constructs expected responses to threat as irrational or pathological. It can also facilitate such behaviours, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
KeywordsHumans; Anxiety; Fear; Panic; Public Opinion; Pandemics; Consumer Behavior; Hoarding; COVID-19
Year2022
JournalPLoS ONE
Journal citation17 (2), p. e0264618
ISSN1932-6203
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0264618
Official URLhttps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0264618
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication dates
Online25 Feb 2022
Print01 Jan 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Mar 2022
Accepted author manuscript
License
Output statusPublished
Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/90w5x/is-it-really-panic-buying-public-perceptions-and-experiences-of-extra-buying-at-the-onset-of-the-covid-19-pandemic

Download files


Accepted author manuscript
journal.pone.0264618.pdf
License: CC BY 4.0

  • 9
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 3
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Glass children: The lived experiences of siblings of people with a disability or chronic illness
Hanvey, I., Malovic, A. and Ntontis, E. 2022. Glass children: The lived experiences of siblings of people with a disability or chronic illness. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2602
How participation in Covid‐19 mutual aid groups affects subjective well‐being and how political identity moderates these effects
Mao, G., Drury, J., Fernandes-Jesus, M. and Ntontis, E. 2021. How participation in Covid‐19 mutual aid groups affects subjective well‐being and how political identity moderates these effects. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. https://doi.org/10.1111/asap.12275
What have we learned about COVID-19 volunteering in the UK? A rapid review of the literature.
Mao, Guanlan, Fernandes-Jesus, M., Ntontis, Evangelos and Drury, John 2021. What have we learned about COVID-19 volunteering in the UK? A rapid review of the literature. BMC Public Health. 21 (1), p. 1470. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11390-8
Harnessing shared identities to mobilise resilient responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
Vignoles, V., Jaser, Z., Taylor, F. and Ntontis, E. 2020. Harnessing shared identities to mobilise resilient responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Political Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12726
Collective resilience in the disaster recovery period: Emergent social identity and observed social support are associated with collective efficacy, wellbeing, and the provision of social support
Ntontis, E., Drury, J., Amlot, R., Rubin, J., Williams, R. and Saavedra, P. 2020. Collective resilience in the disaster recovery period: Emergent social identity and observed social support are associated with collective efficacy, wellbeing, and the provision of social support. British Journal of Social Psychology. 60 (3), pp. 1075-1095. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12434
Public behaviour in response to the Covid-19 pandemic: Understanding the role of group processes
Drury, J., Carter, H., Ntontis, E. and Tekin-Guven, S. 2020. Public behaviour in response to the Covid-19 pandemic: Understanding the role of group processes. BJPsych OPEN. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2020.139
Solidarity
Ntontis, E. and Rocha, C. 2020. Solidarity. in: Jetten, J., Reicher, S.D., Haslam, S.A. and Cruwys, T. (ed.) Together apart: The psychology of COVID-19 SAGE. pp. 102-106
“An important part of who I am”: The predictors of dietary adherence among weight-loss, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and gluten-free dietary groups
Cruwys, T., Norwood, R., Chachay, V.S., Ntontis, E. and Sheffield, J. 2020. “An important part of who I am”: The predictors of dietary adherence among weight-loss, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and gluten-free dietary groups. Nutrients. 12 (4), p. 970. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040970
Endurance or decline of emergent groups following a flood disaster: implications for community resilience
Ntontis, E., Drury, J., Amlot, R., Rubin, G. J. and Williams, R. 2020. Endurance or decline of emergent groups following a flood disaster: implications for community resilience. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101493
Facilitating collective psychosocial resilience in the public in emergencies: twelve recommendations based on the social identity approach
Drury, J., Carter, H., Cocking, C., Ntontis, E., Tekin Guven, S. and Amlôt, R. 2019. Facilitating collective psychosocial resilience in the public in emergencies: twelve recommendations based on the social identity approach. Frontiers in Public Health. 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00141
Anti-abortion rhetoric and the undermining of choice: Women’s agency as causing “psychological trauma” following the termination of a pregnancy
Ntontis, E. 2019. Anti-abortion rhetoric and the undermining of choice: Women’s agency as causing “psychological trauma” following the termination of a pregnancy. Political Psychology. 41 (3), pp. 517-532. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12634
What lies beyond social capital? the role of social psychology in building community resilience to climate change
Ntontis, E., Drury, J., Amlôt, E., Rubin, G. and Williams, R. 2019. What lies beyond social capital? the role of social psychology in building community resilience to climate change. Traumatology. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000221
A glossary for research on human crowd dynamics
Adrian, J., Bode, N., Amos, M., Baratchi, M., Beermann, M., Boltes, M., Corbetta, A., Dezecache, G., Drury, J., Fu, Z., Geraerts, R., Gwynne, S., Hofinger, G., Hunt, A., Kanters, T., Kneidl, A., Konya, K., Köster, G., Küpper, M., Michalareas, G., Neville, F., Ntontis, E., Reicher, S., Ronchi, E., Schadschneider, A., Seyfried, A., Shipman, A., Sieben, A., Spearpoint, M., Sullivan, G., Templeton, A., Toschi, F., Yücel, Z., Zanlungo, F., Zuriguel, I., Van der Wal, N., van Schadewijk, F., von Krüchten, C. and Wijermans, N. 2019. A glossary for research on human crowd dynamics. Collective Dynamics. 4, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.17815/CD.2019.19
Community resilience and flooding in UK guidance: a critical review of concepts, definitions, and their implications
Ntontis, E., Drury, J., Amlôt, R., Rubin, G. and Williams, R. 2018. Community resilience and flooding in UK guidance: a critical review of concepts, definitions, and their implications. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5973.12223
PhD supervisors and faculty members might help to avoid burnout as well as enhance engagement and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) among PhD students.
Saavedra, P., Ntontis, E. and Kyprianides, A. 2018. PhD supervisors and faculty members might help to avoid burnout as well as enhance engagement and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) among PhD students. University of Sussex. https://doi.org/10.20919/Psych(2019).001
Framing a ‘social problem': emotion in anti-abortion activists' depiction of the abortion debate
Ntontis, E. and Hopkins, N. 2018. Framing a ‘social problem': emotion in anti-abortion activists' depiction of the abortion debate. British Journal of Social Psychology. 57 (3), pp. 666-683. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12249
Emergent social identities in a flood: implications for community psychosocial resilience
Ntontis, E., Drury, J., Amlôt, R., Rubin, G. and Williams, R. 2017. Emergent social identities in a flood: implications for community psychosocial resilience. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 28 (1), pp. 3-14. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2329