Young people far more likely to be panic buying than pensioners, poll shows

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

With supermarket shelves lying empty across the country as Brits prepare for coronavirus self-isolation, a poll has revealed who is predominantly responsible for panic buying.

According to the Ipsos MORI survey of 1,074 adults aged 18 and over, 14% of 18-35 year olds admitted to buying items in bulk that they wouldn’t normally do.

This compares to 6% of 35-55 year olds, while just 2% of 55-75 year olds say they are guilty of panic buying during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The poll also found that 61% of Brits think it is unacceptable to bulk buy due to coronavirus concerns.

Only 14% said it was acceptable to bulk buy toilet roll while 11% believe it is fine to hoard vitamins during the crisis.

Empty shelves in the bread aisle in a Tesco store in Dublin as shoppers bulk buy amid the coronavirus crisis. (PA)

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The poll comes as supermarkets in the UK responded to shelves being rapidly cleared of stock by introducing measures to help the elderly and vulnerable.

Sainsbury's revealed it will only allow customers to buy a maximum of three of any single item, while Morrisons said it is limiting purchases across 1,250 lines.

Asda also announced it is restricting shoppers to three items on all food and closing its cafes and pizza counters, while temporarily reducing the opening hours of all its 24-hour stores for restocking.

Aldi has already introduced limits of four items per shopper across all products.

Sainsbury's became the latest group to offer priority home delivery slots to elderly and vulnerable customers, as well as exclusive shopping hours.

People queue to shop at Sainsbury's supermarket in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, where the store had announced that the first hour of opening would be for elderly and vulnerable customers. (PA)

Its supermarkets will only open to these two groups for the first hour of trading on Thursday, chief executive Mike Coupe said, but will open for an hour longer so other shoppers do not miss out. 

Supermarkets have seen a huge rise in demand for delivery services, with no slots available until next month for both Tesco and Waitrose in some parts of south east England.

Cases of coronavirus across the globe. (PA)

Britain's biggest online-only supermarket, Ocado, temporarily shut down its website on Wednesday to give itself breathing space amid "unprecedented strain" as orders streamed in from new and old customers.

All supermarkets have faced a major upswing in demand for some items, with shelves emptied of toilet paper, many canned goods and cereals.

The average number of orders placed on Ocado jumped 10.2% to 343,000, while the average order value was up by just 28p to £110.24.