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Coronavirus in US spurs panic buying to stock ‘pandemic pantries’

Fears about a worsening coronavirus outbreak have led shoppers in the U.S. and other hard-hit countries to begin stocking up on supplies to fill “pandemic pantries,” a new report from Nielsen suggests.

Sales of highly sought-after hand sanitizers have risen 73% in dollar value in the four weeks ending Feb. 22, compared to the same period in 2019, Nielsen says. Similarly, medical masks sales spiked 319%, aerosol disinfectants rose 47% and thermometers increased 32%.

Among food goods with skyrocketing sales: Oat milk. Sales of the milk alternative rose 305% in the week ending Feb. 22.

“Consumers around the world are actively stockpiling emergency supplies as concerns grow that the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) could become a worldwide pandemic,” reads the report entitled, “Nielsen Investigation: ‘Pandemic Pantries’ Pressure Supply Chain Amid COVID-19 Fears.”

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