Toilet Paper Demand Slows as Pandemic Hysteria Calms

Toilet Paper Demand Slows as Pandemic Hysteria Calms

Retailers have lost more than $800 million from May 2020 to Feb 2021 in toilet paper sales alone. The resulting loss in sales was due to either retail outlets not carrying the brand customers preferred or they were out of stock.

“Not only can retailers lose a significant amount of their sales if the products are not on the shelf, but out-of-stocks also result in reduced customer satisfaction and lower loyalty levels. Our research shows that 30 percent of shoppers will visit new stores when they can’t find what they are looking for in their stores, and 70 percent of shoppers will buy a different brand when a product they are seeking is out of stock,” Richard Cook, intelligent analytics leader for NielsenIQ said, according to The Shelby Report.

In 2020, demand for toilet paper doubled in March. Sales remained high throughout most of the year. In a typical year, Americans spend around $9 billion on toilet paper. Last year Americans spent around $11 billion. In January, sales dropped 4 percent from the same time in 2020. Demand has since decelerated at an increased pace. In Feb., sales were down 14 percent, and in March, sales dropped 33 percent.

Since the start of the pandemic, shoppers of bath tissue have refrained from shopping for more due to considerable stockpiles in their own homes. Marjorie Greenburgh of New Rochelle, New York, said, “I’m not planning on buying for a while,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Greenburgh currently has 54 rolls throughout her home. “They just kept amassing.” Greenburgh, like many at the start of the pandemic, feared the toilet paper would run out, “You never knew when you weren’t going to be able to get it, so every time we went out we got some.”

Analyst Jonathan Rager of Fastmarkets RISI, an analytics firm specializing in the pulp and paper industry, had this to say, “Tissue is just one of those things that has really demonstrated the impact of the pandemic more than others.”

The papermaking industry couldn’t accommodate demand in the heat of the pandemic because the cost and time to build a paper mill outweighed the need and margins predicted.

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