In a new online survey by Ipsos among 18-75 year olds, 61% of Britons believe it is unacceptable to bulk buy a range of products during the current coronavirus pandemic, including personal hygiene products, such as hand sanitiser, non-perishable foodstuffs, such as pasta and rice, and toilet roll. Younger Britons are half as likely to think it is unacceptable to buy any of these products; 37% of those aged between 18-34 deem it unacceptable compared to 74% of those aged 55-75.
In the survey, conducted before government suggestions to work from home where possible, one in five (21%) believe it is acceptable to buy personal hygiene products while 19% feel the same about cold and pain relief medicines and non-perishable food stuffs. Only 14% think it is acceptable to bulk buy toilet roll while 11% think it’s fine to hoard vitamins.
Those with children in their household are more likely to support the bulk buying of all products listed. Around a quarter support the bulk buying of personal hygiene products (25%), cold and pain relief medicine (24%) and long-life milk (24%), while those without children are more likely to find it unacceptable to bulk buy any products (64% compared to 53%).
57% of Britons say they have not changed their supermarket shopping habits due to concern about the coronavirus. While a third (34%) say they are now buying an additional one/ two items compared with their normal shop/ Only 7% admit to buying things in bulk (i.e. enough to last more than a week) that they wouldn’t normally.
Again, the biggest differences are seen among different age groups. While 16% of those aged 18-24 have started to bulk buy products, only 1% of those between 65-75 have done the same.
Kelly Beaver, Managing Director, Public Affairs, said:
Despite the chaos seen in supermarkets over the past week or so, these results suggest that only a small proportion of the public are panic buying in bulk with a majority of Britons (57%) saying they haven’t changed their weekly shopping habits at all. Perhaps surprisingly, it appears to be the young that are most likely to see bulk buying as acceptable, despite being at relatively low risk from the virus.
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,074 British adults aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online: 13 –16 March 2020. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.