Published on 21 Sep 2021

Panic buying is driven by fear, perceived lack of supplies and social pressure, finds NTU Singapore study

From left to right: Ms Li Xue, CEE PhD student, Assistant Professor Yuen Kum Fai, Associate Professor Wong Yiik Diew

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have identified several psychological and social driving factors behind panic buying behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.

The research team, who is studying the topic from the perspective of urban resilience and supply chains, found that respondents who experienced certain social and psychological factors are 43 per cent more likely to panic buy.

Respondents usually experience a multitude of these factors simultaneously, with those experiencing fear being more likely to engage in panic buying.

The findings provide useful insights on a rare social phenomenon, as instances of mass public buying during the pandemic have taken place globally, including in Singapore, with consumers stockpiling goods like hand sanitiser, canned foods, and toilet paper, putting a strain on supply chains and market economies.