I did my Woolworths online delivery order as usual yesterday. But when I went to choose my delivery slot, I was shocked. All the times were completely booked out for the next day. This NEVER happens, well except for maybe Christmas or Easter. It looks like panic buying has most definitely set in.

With the world on high alert about the rapid spread of Coronavirus, it looks like people are starting to stress and resort to stock piling grocery essentials, in case they quarantined in their home.

Supermarkets across the globe have been reporting consumers tipping over into panic buying mode as images of empty shelves are popping up on social media.

Popular Panic Buying Items

The most popular items on the hoarding list appears to be toilet paper (tops the charts at THE number 1 essential), cans of food, pasta, bottled water and other grocery staples.

In Sydney’s Bondi, Woolworths shelves were stripped of paracetamol, toilet paper, tea, milk, pasta, oats and rice crackers.

A Coles supermarket in Claremont in Perth showed empty shelves throughout the store. And in Adelaide, there were massive huge queues in Costco, as customers bulk bought toilet paper and other essentials.

empty-coles shelves due to panic buying
This supermarket shelf In Perth once housed lots of Toilet rolls


Chemists are running out of hand sanitiser and ant-bacterial wipes

The panic buying was likely to be triggered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing the federal government would be launching an emergency response plan to deal with the virus, and warned ‘the risk of a global pandemic is upon us’.

The panic buying has set in throughout the world where pictures of frenzied shoppers were shown inside a Mexican Costco store. In a store in Japan, pics show the entire toilet paper roll aisle being decimated.

Stock Shortages Won’t Last

A Woolworths spokesperson spoke to Yahoo News Australia, saying there had been a recent notable rise in demand for pantry staples.

“We’ve seen an increase in demand for long-life pantry items and household staples in recent days, which has led to partial stock shortages across some of our stores,” the spokesperson said.

“Our teams have been working hard to replenish these products as quickly as possible. We have good stock levels to draw on in our distribution centres and will continue working closely with our suppliers to maintain supply.

“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience.”

Have you been tempted to go into panic buying mode? What are you stockpiling, if anything? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • What a crazy time it was.
    As far as groceries were concerned I was well stocked before covid hit. My husband had been battling cancer and so I made sure the cupboard were well stocked as I had no idea when I was going to be able to get to the shops. We had hand saniter galore as we had been using it for 18mths with his illness and we had face masks. His illness made sure we were well set up. he passed away a few weeks before covid hit our shores and the madness began. I was so well stocked that i didnt need to go to the supermarket at all. I just stayed home and used what I had in the panrty and freezer.


  • I didn’t panic buy – do hope that those who did and wanted a high return from eBay get caught with their pants down so to speak.


  • The panic buying is so over the top 70% of food is manufactured in Australia. We are not going to run out


  • No, I didn’t panic buy anything. I didn’t even think about stocking up until I saw all the news reports about stock being so limited and selling out. Happy to report I managed to buy a 20 pack of Quilton on Friday, but had no luck with flour, the shelves were stripped!


  • l think all this panic buying is a load of crap people are just being selfish it’s very unAustralian l say people are forgetting the old people and pensioners who can’t afford to bulk buy they left them Nothing . And Coles & Woolworths are making a fortune from all of this the farmers said they had plenty of vegetables and fruit to feed us all . So why is it $7 for a half a cauliflower and $12.90 per kilo of zucchini’s they have put up the prices of everything very unfair l say they forget the poor people


  • I haven’t been able to get my daughters specialty formula. I’ve been everywhere in my area and no where has any left. I also cannot buy any paracetamol for my baby or my son. It’s selfishness at its best.
    I’m so happy that coles and woolies aren’t taking returns on some items now, hopefully that will stop the bull buying and we can finally get some essentials.


  • I just find it so hard, I tried doing a normal shop and I can’t get essentials and we still need to eat and the food I normally would buy are sitting in people’s pantries and freezes out if fear…. I’m just fearful I can’t feed my kids properly and now a hated chore will take me ages going store to store getting the basics. Nappies are hard to find, sanitary napkins even, toilet paper like omg how insane.


  • It’s just so selfish of these people to stock up so much that they have stripped the shelves bare for other people. What about the old people who only shop once a week, a carer may take them shopping and they can’t get what they need. Do these selfish A** Holes think about that??? Of course not. Well they will get old too one day and I hope they have problems like this.


  • This is just insane and ridiculous. I am going to do my weekly grocery shop tomorrow and will be really peeved if I can’t get what I need just to get through next week. Calm the farm everyone. I feel confident I could actually live out of my freezer and pantry for at least a couple of weeks if I had to.


  • I did do a big shop this week but that’s only because I shop about once a month. I never noticed any empty shelves but I do live in the country so that may be why.


  • I didn’t notice anything different when I went shopping this week. I didn’t stock up, but we do have a pantry full of food, so I’d only need a few essentials if need be. I am however keeping up to date with the news on a daily basis.


  • I haven’t been shopping this week so it’ll be interesting to see what the shelves are like.


  • better get prepared then be sorry.is our job to protect our own family.


  • This panic buying is making me worry I won’t be able to get anything for my normal weekly shop let alone a stock pile shop.
    Was also told hand sanitizer will be out of stock for 3 weeks

    • We had trouble finding toilet paper for our normal shop!
      The shelves were indeed empty – never ever seen that before!


  • This is crazy! As my husband has said, it is no worse than the bad strains of flu, it’s just being sensationalised. People die from the flu every year!


  • I’m not stockpiling. I think our Government jumped the gun and has created this panic buying. We are not in a Pandemic as yet and people need to use common sense.


  • I haven’t noticed anything of this either. I’m glad I didn’t, this panic mode isn’t helpful and not needed in my opinion


  • I have not noticed anything like this where we are. I ordered click and collect yesterday to pick up today and there were plenty of time slots left. The shelves are full here. I keep extra shelf items but that’s only because of the flood/cyclone season we get this time of year every year.


  • I’ve not noticed this in any of my local supermarkets. I have a stockpile of rice and cereal but that’s just buying on special and not because of a virus.


  • I think this is a little over the top lol


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