Panic Buying - It's Not Just Hand Gel and Loo Roll

I don’t blog much, but I felt the need to share my take from our industry on Coronavirus COVID-19.

We have a good relationship with our suppliers. While speaking to one of them yesterday, they told me that because of concerns over Coronavirus COVID-19 they have sent everyone home for the next week. When we got talking about the whole Coronavirus COVID-19 situation, we were discussing all the panic buying and my supplier told me he is even seeing panic buying of IT equipment! Now, you are probably thinking, as was I, "yeah, yeah, another bit of spin to close a deal". However if you consider that many products are manufactured in China or use parts from Chinese vendors; and that Intel has ongoing chip supply delays which have been going on since early last year, this means that short supply of laptops, desktops and servers is a real thing!

We are all sensible people and we all make measured rational decisions, but people often make purchase decisions based on emotional impulses as opposed to logical facts. When looking to buy something, humans use our emotions more than you think, we have a greater commitment to avoiding losses than to seek gains and we tend to "go with the crowd", hence the panic buying of loo rolls and hand sanitiser.

During my conversation with my supplier, he told me that because of the genuine manufacturing issues; they have bought 10,000 laptops and desktop units into stock this month, when normally they buy 600. One of their big clients knew they needed 120 laptops over the next year and they had a quote sitting for 20 but decided to buy all 120 yesterday. Armed with this knowledge, I found myself moving from emotional sales trick sceptic to "I will look at my forecast for the next year and, based on that come back to you, with an order on Monday".

Who knows what will really happen? Are we going to panic buy anything and everything we need to self-isolate? or are we going to wash our hands more, buy sensibly, be respectful if we know someone who has to self-isolate, take life as it comes and hope these measures mean we prevent a pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19.