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If you didn’t already have a stockpile of nonperishables and household supplies a year and a half ago, you probably started one shortly after the coronavirus pandemic struck. Not everyone can have an Extreme Couponing-worthy stash of supplies, neatly shelved and stored in a spare room-turned-personal store. But even just grabbing an extra package of toilet paper and storing it somewhere proved to be a smart thing to do when supplies ran low.

Now there are indications that stockpiling is not just something that “crazy couponers” do – but something that most of us plan to do indefinitely.

Inmar Intelligence has conducted a “second stockpile survey” to gauge the state of the pandemic pantry – past, present and future. What it found was that nearly half of respondents started a stockpile as a result of the pandemic, more than two-thirds of those plan to replenish their stockpile in the near future, and even some those of those who skipped the stockpile the first time around, plan to start one soon.

46% of those surveyed told Inmar they had created a stockpile of products as a direct result of COVID-19. 54% said they hadn’t – though, given the wording of the question, it’s possible some of the “no” answers could have come from people who already had a stockpile going pre-pandemic and didn’t start one from scratch last year. Either way, among those who already have a stockpile, nearly 70% said they are considering replenishing their supplies.

And once their shelves are full again, 65% say they plan to “always have a stockpile of goods in fear of another emergency situation like the pandemic.”

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As the Delta variant spreads, there are concerns that we could be in for for another round of pantry-loading, as more shoppers either try to minimize their trips to the grocery store, or stock up on needed supplies before someone else gets to them first. Three-quarters of survey respondents said they have already seen product shortages while shopping recently. So they don’t want to be caught unprepared if necessary items become hard to find.

When asked what specific items they already have, or plan to buy, it’s no surprise that the number-one response was toilet paper. 72% plan to give TP a prominent position in their stockpile. Hand sanitizer, paper towels, soap and disinfecting wipes aren’t far behind. Food is slightly less of a stockpile priority, with 46% saying they already have, or plan to stock up on, canned goods. 34% prefer pasta and 23% opted for alcoholic drinks.

The good news is that many grocery stores have been stockpiling, too. After scarce supplies finally caught up to demand last year and consumers’ shopping trips began to normalize, a number of retailers took the opportunity to build up a “safety stock” of high-demand items – partly in preparation for another shopping surge, and partly to lock in lower prices from their suppliers before pandemic-fueled price hikes kick in. Several grocery retailers recently told the Wall Street Journal that they’ve been warehousing anywhere from 15-25% more paper and cleaning supplies, frozen meat and packaged foods than usual.

Despite the Delta surge, it seems unlikely we’re all going to head back into quarantine like last year. And stores are more prepared for stockpiling shoppers this year. So some who responded to Inmar’s survey aren’t too concerned. 55% who didn’t have a stockpile last year say they should be fine and don’t plan to start one now.

As for those who did stockpile last year, some are learning the lesson that it pays to shop smart. Like the Extreme Couponer who bought 62 bottles of mustard just because coupons made them free, many COVID-19 stockpilers have learned that there’s no sense stocking up on products that you can’t ultimately use. 60% of the survey respondents said they still have products from back when they first created their stockpile as the pandemic took hold last year, and 39% say they ended up stocking up on items that they don’t plan to buy again.

So you may or may not have grocery shelves in your garage, or a room in your house dedicated to extra supplies. And as coupons have become less attractive and harder to find lately, it’s getting more difficult to build up a stockpile of items you can get for next to nothing. But most savvy shoppers still advise buying a little extra supply of necessities any time you can get them for a good price. And with so much still unknown about the future – when it comes to starting a stockpile, there may be no better time than the present.

Image source: istolethetv

One Comment

  1. Hopefully people will just stockpile correctly this time.

    If you are trying to build up a supply of something, just pick up an extra or two each time you are shopping, until your supply is stocked, then pick up extras as you use them.

    The issue last year was everyone wanted a year’s supply all at once, which is why it became hard (maybe impossible) to find things as none of the stores could predict that jump in sales.

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