Systematic Reviews Open Access
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Meta-Anal. Dec 28, 2020; 8(6): 447-461
Published online Dec 28, 2020. doi: 10.13105/wjma.v8.i6.447
How far has panic buying been studied?
S M Yasir Arafat, Fahad Hussain, Sujita Kumar Kar, Vikas Menon, Kum Fai Yuen
S M Yasir Arafat, Department of Psychiatry, Enam Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka 1340, Bangladesh
Fahad Hussain, Department of Pharmacy, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Noakhali 3814, Bangladesh
Sujita Kumar Kar, Department of Psychiatry, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow 226003, India
Vikas Menon, Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry 605006, India
Kum Fai Yuen, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
ORCID number: S M Yasir Arafat (0000-0003-0521-5708); Fahad Hussain (0000-0001-8335-2666); Sujita Kumar Kar (0000-0003-1107-3021); Vikas Menon (0000-0001-8035-4658); Kum Fai Yuen (0000-0002-9199-6661).
Author contributions: Arafat SMY designed the research; Arafat SMY performed the search; Arafat SMY and Hossain F analyzed the data; All authors wrote the paper, and read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors declare that they have no competing interests.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The authors have read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: S M Yasir Arafat, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Enam Medical College and Hospital, Savar, Dhaka 1340, Bangladesh. arafatdmc62@gmail.com
Received: November 23, 2020
Peer-review started: November 23, 2020
First decision: December 8, 2020
Revised: December 8, 2020
Accepted: December 23, 2020
Article in press: December 23, 2020
Published online: December 28, 2020

Abstract
BACKGROUND

Although panic buying (PB) is a ubiquitous behavior, it became prominent during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. However, studies are inadequate to explore the different aspects of it, even though it covers several perspectives of life and academic domains.

AIM

To assess the research that have been conducted on PB.

METHODS

A search was conducted to identify the articles in PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, and Google Scholar using the search term “panic buying” on November 15, 2020. A total of 104 articles was extracted from the initial search. After removing duplicates and initial and full-text screening, 42 articles were included in the study. We only considered peer-reviewed published articles that can be downloaded in a full portable document format. Articles published in other languages and preprints were excluded.

RESULTS

Among the 42 articles, 27 were original contributions, 6 were correspondences, 3 were commentaries, 3 were review articles, and there was one each for editorial, opinion, and discussion type of articles. Several domains have been researched such as psychology, responsible factors, supply chain, management, disaster preparedness, e-commerce, consumer behavior, marketing, prevention strategies, media, social network, economics, personality, and engineering. Authors from several disciplines, such as psychiatry, management, economics, business, sales and marketing, consumer behavior, public health, communication, information management, sociology, engineering, business administration, psychology, nursing, health economics, food policy, epidemiology, and community health, have been studied it. Definition, causative model, econometric model, controlling strategy, and measuring instrument have been reported. A total of 18 papers had cross-country collaboration, and ten were funded projects. Most of the authors were affiliated with the institutions of Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Singapore, and the United States.

CONCLUSION

PB is a relatively newer concept to get the attention of the research community. Further robust studies with replication of the findings are warranted to explore, predict, and control during crises.

Key Words: Panic buying, Systematic review, COVID-19, Pandemic, Disaster, Supply chain

Core Tip: Panic buying is an under-researched emerging research problem. Although it covers several aspects of human life, there is a dearth of studies. This review was aimed to assess the extent of research that has been done on panic buying. A total of 42 papers were included after a systematic search. Several domains have been researched such as psychology, responsible factors, supply chain, management, disaster preparedness, e-commerce, consumer behavior, marketing, prevention strategies, media, social network, economics, personality, and engineering. Definition, causative model, econometric model, controlling strategy, and measuring instrument have been reported.



INTRODUCTION

Panic buying (PB) is an interesting behavioral phenomenon, usually noticed among the public in the face of disasters. The term “panic buying” consists of two words “panic” and “buying,” which refer to the affective and behavioral components of this phenomenon. It has some common roots with stockpiling[1]. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has witnessed an increase in PB behavior globally, irrespective of the socioeconomic status of the country[2,3]. It has been conceptualized as “the phenomenon of a sudden increase in buying of one or more essential goods in excess of regular need provoked by adversity, usually a disaster or an outbreak resulting in an imbalance between supply and demand”[4]. Several intermingled factors interact with each other to influence it, pointed out as primary (provoking stimuli), secondary (media and psychosocial aspects), and tertiary (utility, demand, and price of the goods) factors[2]. Multiple psychological explanations have been proposed such as anticipation of shortage and price hike, supply disruption, fear, uncertainty, maladaptive coping, and maintaining control over the environment to attribute it[2,5-7]. There are complex interactions between media, environment, rumor, and increased demand and price as these factors can have a bidirectional role with PB[2,3,6,8]. It has been traced in response to an adverse stimulus, such as COVID-19, pandemic, war, government’s declaration, any policy change, disaster, etc.[2,9].

Theoretically, PB shares multiple aspects of human life and several domains of academia. It is related to behavior, public health, disaster preparedness, mass media, economics, sociology, business, marketing, supply chain, industrial buying and production, e-commerce, and so on[8]. However, there is a dearth of studies exploring the different aspects of it. Although studies are recently coming out, the issue is still under-researched. With this background, we aimed to conduct a review to assess the extent of research on PB that has been conducted.

MATERIALS AND METHODS
Article search

A search was done to identify the articles in PubMed, PubMed Central (PMC), Scopus, and Google Scholar (GS) with the search term “panic buying” on November 15, 2020. A total of 104 (PubMed = 19, PMC = 22, Scopus = 30, GS = 33) articles were extracted from the initial search. Subsequently, 44 duplicate articles were removed, and the remainder of the 60 articles were screened. After screening the abstract, another 14 articles were removed as PB was not identified as a study variable. Then, full texts were screened resulting in the removal of four articles because the articles only mentioned PB without discussing its aspects. Finally, 42 articles were included in the study (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1 Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses flow diagram.
Inclusion criteria

We included peer-reviewed published articles that were extracted from the search and downloadable as full portable document format in the study.

Exclusion criteria

Articles published in other languages (for example, Bangla, German, Chinese, and French) and preprints were excluded from the study.

Outcome variables

Type of research, publishing year, applied method, key findings, the geographical distribution of the authors, specialty of authors, collaboration (intracountry or intercountry), a major subject of the journal where the articles published, a principal domain discussed in the article, funding status, and keywords were outcome variables. We considered the first authors‘ and corresponding authors’ affiliated institutions’ location to describe the authors‘ geographical locations.

Statistical analysis

In the current study, we assessed the aspects of PB research, detail statistical analysis was not performed. We did a word cloud of the keywords of the articles to reveal highlighting search terms mentioned in the articles.

Ethical statement

The study was conducted complying with the Declaration of Helsinki (1964). As we analyzed the publicly available media reports, no formal ethical approval was sought.

RESULTS
Distribution of the studies

In this review, we searched articles from PubMed, PMC, Scopus, and GS, and 42 articles were reviewed. The articles were published between 2002 and 2020 whilst 36 papers were published in 2020 (Table 1). Among the selected articles, 27 were original articles, 6 were correspondences, 3 were commentaries, 3 were review articles, and 1 each were editorial, opinion, and discussion type of articles (Table 1).

Table 1 Summary of the articles.
No.
Ref.
Year
Type
Title
Method applied
Key message
1Ahmed et al[10]2020OriginalThe COVID-19 pandemic and the antecedents for the impulse buying behavior of US citizensSurvey (online and offline)This study sorted out nine variables from the literature that may influence impulsive buying and tested them by conducting surveys in major United States cities. The variables include fear of complete lockdown, peer buying, the limited supply of essential goods, empty shelves, United States stimulus checks, panic buying, fear appeal, social media fake news, and COVID-19.
2Alchin[11]2020CommentaryGone with the windThis paper proposes a definition of “panic buying,” with references to literature, philosophy, and contemporary neurobiology. The self-fulfilling prophecy, the contagion model of emotional propagation, the Polyvagal Theory, and Nietzsche‘s study of the classical tragedy were discussed in relation to panic buying.
3Alfa et al[12]2020OriginalEffect of panic buying on individual savings: The COVID-19 lockdown experienceCross-sectional The paper assessed the microeconomic effect of PB on the savings of an individual. This study’s findings revealed that price fluctuation, price differential, and spending hurt the individual saving rate.
4Arafat et al[2]2020OriginalResponsible factors of panic buying: An observation from online media reportsAnalysis of media reportsThe authors analyzed 784 media reports to find out the reported responsible factors of panic buying. A sense of scarcity, increased demand, importance of the product, and anticipation of the price hike were the major contributing force towards PB, as mentioned in the reports. The authors postulated a causative model of PB.
5Arafat et al[3]2020OriginalMedia portrayal of panic buying: A content analysis of online news portalsAnalysis of media reportsThis study analyzed content published in media to determine how media is depicting PB during COVID-19.The findings suggested that the media have been portraying more negative aspects of PB. The authors recommended developing media guidelines to censor news that influences impulse buying behavior.
6Arafat et al[4]2020OriginalPanic buying: An insight from the content analysis of media reports during COVID-19 pandemicMedia report analysisThe authors proposed a definition of PB. This study analyzed information extracted from English media reports to evaluate the nature, extent, and impact of PB.
7Arafat et al[5]2020CorrespondencePsychological underpinning of panic buying during pandemic (COVID-19)The authors studied psychological reasons of PB, which include fear of scarcity, insecurity, losing control over the environment, social learning, and exacerbation of anxiety.
8Arafat et al[8]2020CorrespondencePossible controlling measures of panic buying during COVID-19The authors mentioned possible measures to control PB during a pandemic. The recommendations included positive role-playing by media. Promotion of feeling of kinship and encouraging generosity can reduce it from the public end. Setting a quota policy and subsidiary sales for necessity items could be a potential strategy.
9Arafat et al[9]2020CorrespondencePanic buying: Is it really a problem?The paper mentioned some challenges to study PB in detail to explore its several aspects
10Benker[13]2020OriginalStockpiling as resilience: Defending and contextualising extra food procurement during lockdownOnline interviewThis study analyzed 19 invited interviews taken online in the United Kingdom. The study found that though food shortages were common for a couple of weeks, food hoarding didn’t make impulsive buying. The United Kingdom households considered food procurement as a single resilience strategy among the taken six strategies.
11Chen et al[14]2020DiscussionA discussion of irrational stockpiling behaviour during crisisThe authors discussed the current and long-term impact of PB on the economy, society, and local communities. They think that stopping impulse buying is impossible, but it should be controlled by improving the supply chain and maintaining communication with the stakeholders.
12Dammeyer[15]2020OriginalAn explorative study of the individual differences associated with consumer stockpiling during the early stages of the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak in EuropeOnline surveyThis study answered whether individual differences influenced PB during crises. The authors found a high tendency of stockpiling on extroversion and neuroticism and a relatively low tendency on conscientiousness and openness.
13Dickins et al[16]2020OriginalFood shopping under risk and uncertaintyAuthors analyzed super market sales dataIn this study, the authors showed the importance of food security and suggested optimality models of foraging under risk and uncertainty as foraging correlates to PB.
14Dulam et al[17]2020OriginalDevelopment of an agent-based model for the analysis of the effect of consumer panic buying on supply chain disruption due to a disasterSimulation modelThis study used an agent-based simulation model to analyze how a supply chain responds to consumer PB caused by a natural disaster. The authors found this model useful in applying a quota policy per person to protect the supply chain from disruption.
15Du et al[18]2020OriginalCOVID-19 increases online searches for emotional and health-related termsData mining from Google TrendsThis study measured fear-related emotions, protective behaviors, seeking health-related knowledge, and PB due to COVID-19 prevalence in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia using internet search volumes in Google Trends. The results found that the increased prevalence of COVID-19 was associated with panic buying consistently in all four countries.
16Hall et al[19]2020OriginalBeyond panic buying: consumption displacement and COVID-19Cross-sectional The authors analyzed consumer spending data acquired from financial third parties and found instances of PB for grocery, home, hardware, and electrical categories that happened in the Canterbury region of New Zealand before the lockdown that lasted less than a week. The study showed a high consumption displacement in the hospitality and retailing sectors that dominate this area’s economy.
17Hao et al[20]2020OriginalImpact of online grocery shopping on stockpile behavior in COVID-19Online surveyIt investigated how online shops affect the food stockpiling manner among urban consumers in China using bivariate probit models. The authors recommended improved and resilient supply chains that can withstand intense PB phenomena during emergencies.
18Islam et al[21]2020OriginalPanic buying in the COVID-19 pandemic: A multi-country examinationOnline surveyThe authors surveyed 1081 people from United States, China, India, and Pakistan to test their conceptual model and hypotheses. The research revealed that stimuli such as Limited Quantity Scarcity and Limited Time Scarcity affect emotional stress, which eventually influences impulse buying. The findings also correlated excessive social media use to PB and discussed some managerial implications.
19Jeżewska-Zychowicz et al[22]2020OriginalConsumers’ fears regarding food availability and purchasing behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic: The importance of trust and perceived stressCross-sectionalIt investigated how the public perception of food availability changed based on the trust in the received information from media and friends. The participants showed less trust in media for COVID updates but high trust in media and friends for food availability updates and increased buying more food than usual. The consumers were highly afraid of empty shelves in the market, which also motivated them to stockpile food.
20Kar et al[23]2020Correspondence Online group cognitive behavioral therapy for panic buying: Understanding the usefulness in COVID-19 contextThe authors postulated to explain the usefulness of online group CBT in COVID19 context for controlling the PB.
21Keane et al[24]2020OriginalConsumer panic in the COVID-19 pandemicData mining using Google Health Trends APIThe authors developed an econometric model of consumer panic using Google search data for 54 countries from January 1st to April 30th, 2020. Findings included limited movement notice announced by local or foreign governments generated a week-long short-run panic. The study found little impact of stimulus offerings and no consumer panic due to travel restrictions.
22Kostev et al[25]2020OriginalPanic buying, or good adherence? Increased pharmacy purchases of drugs from wholesalers in the last week before Covid-19 lockdownRetrospective cross-sectional analysis of the IMS RPM® (Regional Pharmaceutical Market) Weekly databaseThe paper assessed the PB of medication during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. The study suggested that Germany’s lockdown was associated with a sharp increase in purchasing behavior in pharmacies for different markets, including psychotropic, neurological, and cardiovascular drugs.
23Laato et al[26]2020OriginalUnusual purchasing behavior during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic: The stimulus-organism-response approachOnline surveyThe authors conducted a web survey with 211 Finnish participants for a week to test a hypothetical research model. The study found a positive link between voluntary self-isolation and unusual purchases. The online information overload caused cyberchondria, which eventually motivated self-isolation followed by PB.
24Lins et al[27]2020OriginalDevelopment and initial psychometric properties of a panic buying scale during COVID-19 pandemicOnline surveyThis study developed the first PB scale that was psychometrically acceptable in the Brazilian context.
25Loxton et al[28]2020ReviewConsumer behavior during crises: Preliminary research on how coronavirus has manifested consumer panic buying, herd mentality, changing discretionary spending and the role of the media in influencing behaviourLiterature review and cross-sectional data analysisThis study reviewed consumer behavior data, including impulse buying, herd instinct, and prioritization of purchasing decisions of past crises and shock events. The authors then analyzed consumer spending data acquired from data services that confirmed the sorted variables in the COVID-19 context.
26Martin-Neuninger et al[29]2020OpinionWhat does food retail research tell us about the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for grocery purchasing habits?The paper discussed the consequences of lockdowns on consumer grocery purchasing habits, focusing on New Zealand. In avoidance of PB, the authors suggested few recommendations to the food companies so that people can enjoy visiting supermarkets without compromising safety. They also asked to improve online delivery services to gain trust and customer confidence.
27Micalizzi et al[1]2020OriginalStockpiling in the time of COVID-19SurveyThis study aimed to discuss stockpiling behavior during COVID-19 and investigated individual predictors of stockpiling. Those affiliated with conservative politics, worry much about COVID-19, and self-isolated were prone to stockpiling behavior.
28Naeem[30]2020OriginalDo social media platforms develop consumer panic buying during the fear of Covid-19 pandemicTelephonic interviewThe study revealed how social media aggravated PB by arousing fear appeal. Along with some exacerbating factors like uncertainties, anxiety, persuasive buying, empty shelves, and exert opinion, a huge load of information at users’ fingertips made them more anxious about what was to come, leading to panic buying.
29Prentice et al[31]2020OriginalTimed intervention in COVID-19 and panic buyingSemantic analysis, secondary data and big data analysisThis paper depicted PB as a side effect of the Australian government’s timed-intervention policy. The authors supported their findings with real-life evidence.
30Rosita[32] 2020ReviewPanic buying in the COVID-19 pandemic era in IndonesiaLiterature reviewThis paper proposed a definition of PB and extrapolated some underlying reasons for it. It also mentioned the negative impact of impulsive buying and recommended some stakeholders’ measures to control it.
31Shorey et al[33]2020OriginalPerceptions of the public on the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore: A qualitative content analysisQualitative content analysisThis study analyzed 2075 comments made to the 29 published news by local media outlets on their Facebook pages to find common concerns shared by Singapore’s public. The five main themes derived from the qualitative thematic analysis were fear and concern, PB and hoarding, reality and expectations about the situation, staying positive amid the ‘storm,’ and worries about the future. The authors recommended clear communication, timely updates, and support measures from the government to maintain social peace and cohesion.
32Sim et al[6]2020Correspondence The anatomy of panic buying related to the current COVID-19 pandemicThe paper mentioned two episodes of PB in Singapore due to a new alert level set by the local authority and the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The authors found some underlying reasons for PB and suggested some recommendations to facilitate it.
33Singh et al[34]2020CommentaryA critical analysis to comprehend panic buying behaviour of Mumbaikar’sin COVID-19 eraThe authors studied different driving factors of PB and suggested how the retailers should adapt inventory when the supply chain is under disruption. They recommended stopping the panic buying so that others can get the share of the products.
34Turambi et al[35]2020OriginalPanic buying perception in Waliansatu sub-district, Tomohon CityOnline surveyThis study analyzed the perception of city dwellers towards PB due to COVID-19. It described different PB episodes that appeared in a city in Indonesia.
35Yuen et al[7]2020ReviewThe psychological causes of panic buying following a health crisisSystematic reviewIt was the first systematic review on PB. The authors identified four major themes responsible for PB.
36Zheng et al[36]2020OriginalSupply disruption management under consumer panic buying and social learning effectsAnalytical studyThe study analyzed how social learning among customers can influence buying decisions when adequate supply is at risk. When the panic intensity is at a moderate level, social learning can help to adjust the consumer demand, but it will work negatively when the panic intensity is very low or very high. The authors also introduced an optimal inventory ordering strategy for retailers.
37Tsao et al[37]2019OriginalProduct substitution in different weights and brands considering customer segmentation and panic buying behaviorMathematical modelIt proposed a mathematical model for managing wholesaler’s inventory to maximize the profit during PB. The authors suggested substituting the same products of different weights and brands between high- and low-indexed stores during a supply disruption. The model can determine optimal order quantity, the number of substitutable units, leftover units, and the unsated demand to improve the store services.
38Wei et al[38]2011OriginalResearch on emergency information management based on the social network analysis — A case analysis of panic buying of saltData miningThis research studied how to manage information in an emergency analyzing social network to control PB.
39Fung et al[39]2010OriginalDisaster preparedness of families with young children in Hong KongSurveyThis study surveyed households’ heads to explore their perception and preparedness for future disastrous events most likely to occur in Hong Kong. These families experienced PB for necessities during disasters especially for children’s items and drugs.
40Kulemeka[40]2010CommentaryUnited States consumers and disaster: Observing "panic buying" during the winter storm and hurricane seasonsThis article was an update of ongoing research. This article narrated predisaster shopping and claimed that such shoppers do not go for panic buying rather help each other.
41Bonneux et al[41]2006CorrespondenceAn iatrogenic pandemic of panicThe authors mentioned humans’ overreactions to the perceived threat of a hypothetical pandemic accompanied by clever marketing for the panic buying of antiviral drugs.
42Thomas[42]2002EditorialPanic buying ahead?The author highlighted the preparedness for future PB influenced by herd instinct in the semiconductor industry.
Applied methods

Nine studies surveyed the target population online or offline, five studies applied cross-sectional data analysis, four papers studied social media, three studies analyzed media reports, and two studies mined data from Google search volume using Google Trends application programming interface (Table 1).

Reported aspects of PB

Definition of PB, causative model, econometric model, media reporting of PB, responsible factors for PB, psychological reasons for PB, controlling strategy, measuring instrument, challenges to explore the problem, and geographical distribution have been identified.

Academic domains

Several domains have been researched such as psychology, supply chain, management, disaster preparedness, e-commerce, consumer behavior, marketing, prevention strategies, media, social network, economics, personality, and engineering (Table 2).

Table 2 Bibliometric summary of the articles.
Ref.
Author No.
Month of publication
Country of the 1st author
Country of the corresponding author
Specialty of the 1st author
Specialty of the corresponding author
Collaboration
Journal
Subject of the journal
Domain of the discussed topic
Funding
Ahmed et al[10]4Aug 20PakistanPakistanSales and MarketingSales and MarketingCross-countryJ of CompetitivenessCompetitivenessImpulse buying behavior No info
Alchin[11]1Jul 20AustraliaAustraliaPublic healthPublic healthAustralasian PsychiatryPsychiatryPanic buying during disasterNo funding
Alfa et al[12]2Sep 20NigeriaNigeriaEconomicsEconomicsIntracountryLapai J of EconomicsEconomicsEconomics No info
Arafat et al[2]7Nov 20BangladeshBangladeshPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryFrontiers in Public HealthPublic healthMediaNo funding
Arafat et al[3]9Sep 20BangladeshBangladeshPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryGlobal PsychiatryPsychiatryMediaNo funding
Arafat et al[4]9Jul 20BangladeshBangladeshPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryNeurology, Psychiatry and Brain ResearchPsychiatryMediaNo funding
Arafat et al[5]6May 20BangladeshBangladeshPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryPsychiatry ResearchPsychiatryPsychological causes of panic buyingNo funding
Arafat et al[8]3May 20BangladeshBangladeshPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryInt J of Mental Health and AddictionPsychiatryControlling of panic buyingNo funding
Arafat et al[9]3Sep 20BangladeshIndiaPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryInt J of Social PsychiatryPsychiatryChallenges of scientific studyingNo funding
Benker[13]1Oct 20United KingdomUnited KingdomSociology Sociology AppetiteBehavioral scienceEmergency preparednessNo funding
Chen et al[14]7Jun 20AustraliaAustraliaEngineeringEngineeringIntracountryJ of Safety Science and ResilienceDisasterEconomics No funding
Dammeyer[15]1Jul 20DenmarkDenmarkPsychologyPsychologyPersonality and Individual DifferencesPsychologyIndividual personality and PB No funding
Dickins et al[16]2Oct 20United KingdomUnited KingdomPsychologyPsychologyIntracountryLearning and MotivationPsychologyUncertainty and PBNo funding
Dulam et al[17]3Apr 20JapanJapanEngineeringEngineeringIntracountryJ of Advanced Simulation in Science and EngineeringEngineeringTechnology and PBNo info
Du et al[18]4Oct 20ChinaChinaPsychologyPsychologyIntracountryApplied Psychology: Health and Well-BeingPsychologyBehavioral perspectivesNational Natural Science Foundation of China
Hall et al[19]4Jul 20New ZealandNew ZealandManagementManagementCross-countryJ of Service ManagementManagementConsumer behavior during a disasterNo info
Hao et al[20]3Aug 20ChinaChinaEconomicsEconomicsCross-countryChina Agricultural Economic ReviewEconomicsE-commerce’s role on food hoardingBeijing Municipal Education Commission Social Science
Islam et al[21]7Oct 20ChinaChinaEconomics and ManagementEconomics and ManagementCross-countryJ of Retailing and Consumer ServicesMarketingReasons of panic buying National Social Science Fund of China
Jeżewska-Zychowicz et al[22]3Sep 20PolandPolandBusinessBusinessIntracountryNutrientsHuman nutritionBehavioral perspectivesWarsaw university of life sciences
Kar et al[23]3Oct 20IndiaIndiaPsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryIndian J of PsychiatryPsychiatryBehavioral perspectives for Controlling of panic buyingNo funding
Keane et al[24]2Aug 20AustraliaAustraliaHealth Economics and MarketingConsumer Behaviour, EconometricsIntracountryJ of EconometricsEconometricsEconometrics model of PBAustralian Research Council grants
Kostev et al[25]2Jul 20GermanyGermanyEpidemiology, public healthEpidemiology, public healthIntracountryJ of Psychiatric ResearchPsychiatryDrug purchasing surge during COVID 19No funding
Laato et al[26]4Jul 20FinlandNorwayTechnologiesEconomics and managementCross-countryJ of Retailing and Consumer ServicesMarketingMedia and panic buyingNo info
Lins et al[27]2Sep 20PortugalPortugalSocial psychologySocial psychologyCross-countryHeliyonMedical sciencesMeasurement instrumentNo funding
Loxton et al[28]6Jul 20AustraliaChinaBusinessEconomicsCross-countryJ of Risk and Financial ManagementFinance and RiskConsumer behavior during disastersNo funding
Martin-Neuninger et al[29]2Jun 20New ZealandNew ZealandFood Policy and SecurityFood Policy and SecurityCross-countryFrontiers in PsychologyPsychologyConsumer behaviourNo funding
Micalizzi et al[1]3Oct 20United StatesUnited StatesBehavioral and Social SciencesBehavioral and Social SciencesIntracountryBritish J of Health PsychologyPsychologyHoarding during emergencyNational Institutes on Drug Abuse
Naeem[30]1Sep 20United KingdomUnited KingdomBusiness administrationBusiness administrationJ of Retailing and Consumer ServicesMarketingSocial media and panic buyingNo funding
Prentice et al[31]3Aug 20AustraliaAustraliaMarketing and Consumer BehaviorMarketing and Consumer BehaviorIntracountryJ of Retailing and Consumer ServicesMarketingGovernment timed-intervention policy and PBInspector General Emergency Management Queensland, Australia
Rosita[32]1Oct 20IndonesiaIndonesiaConsumer behavior Consumer behavior Int J of MultiscienceAll disciplinesConsumer behaviorNo info
Shorey et al[33]4Jul 20SingaporeSingaporeNursingNursingIntracountryJournal of Public HealthPublic healthResponses during emergenciesNo funding
Sim et al[6]4Apr 20SingaporeSingaporePsychiatryPsychiatryCross-countryPsychiatry ResearchPsychiatryPanic buying distributionNo info
Singh et al[34]2Mar 20IndiaIndiaArts humanities & communicationArts humanities & communicationIntracountryStudies in Indian Place NamesHistorySupply chainNo info
Turambi et al[35]2No infoIndonesiaIndonesiaEconomicsEconomicsIntracountryInternational Journal of Applied Business and International ManagementBusinessBehavioral perspectivesNo info
Yuen et al[7]4May 20SingaporeChinaEconomics and Supply Chain ManagementEconomics and Supply Chain ManagementCross-countryInt J Environ Res Public HealthEnvironmental and Public Health Psychological causes of panic buyingNanyang Technological University, Singapore
Zheng et al[36]3Mar 20ChinaHong KongManagementManagementCross-countryOmegaManagementSupply chainHongkong & China
Tsao et al[37]3Feb 19 TaiwanTaiwanIndustrial managementIndustrial managementIntracountryIndustrial Marketing ManagementIndustrial marketingMarketing and supply chainPartially supported by Ministry of Sci and Tech Taiwan
Wei et al[38]3Sep 11ChinaChinaInformation managementInformation managementIntracountry2011 International Conference on Management Science & Engineering (18th)Management Science and EngineeringSocial network data mining and PBNo info
Fung et al[39]2Sep 10Hong KongHong KongFamily and Community HealthFamily and Community HealthIntracountryScandinavian J of Public HealthPublic healthDisaster preparednessNo funding
Kulemeka[40]1No infoUnited StatesUnited StatesBusiness and EconomicsBusiness and EconomicsAdvances in Consumer ResearchConsumer researchDisaster preparednessNo info
Bonneux et al[41]2Mar 06BelgiumBelgiumPublic healthPublic healthIntracountryBMJMedical sciencesDrug stockpilingNo info
Thomas[42]1Aug 02 No infoSemiconductorIII-Vs ReviewSemiconductor industryPossible pb in semiconductor industryNo info
Distribution of authors

Authors from several disciplines, such as psychiatry, management, economics, business, sales and marketing, consumer behavior, public health, communication, information management, sociology, engineering, business administration, psychology, nursing, health economics, food policy, epidemiology, and community health, have been studied it. Most of the authors were affiliated with institutions from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Singapore, and the United States (Table 2). Eighteen papers had cross-country collaboration, and ten were funded projects. The average number of authors per paper was 3.3; Arafat SMY has published the maximum number of papers (6) as the first author on the topic.

Distribution of journals

The maximum number of papers were published in behavioral health (13: Psychiatry 9; psychology 4), followed by business (including marketing and management) (12), public health (4), and economics (3) (Table 2). Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services hosted the maximum number of papers on PB (4) followed by Psychiatry Research (2).

Distribution of keywords

A wide spectrum of keywords was found in articles with a prominence of COVID-19, PB, Coronavirus, and pandemic. Figure 2 shows the word cloud analysis of different keywords extracted from research publications on “panic buying.” Words with a larger font size refer to the most frequently used keywords and vice versa. Different colors are used to differentiate words from each other. Colors do not have any statistical significance.

Figure 2
Figure 2 Word cloud analysis of key words. The color of the words does not have any significance.
DISCUSSION

We aimed to identify the aspects of PB already explored and research trends. We searched PubMed, PMC, Scopus, and GS with the search term “panic buying” on November 15, 2020. A total of 42 articles were collected and scrutinized (Figure 1). The type of research, publishing year, applied method, key findings, geographical distribution of the authors, specialty of authors, collaboration, subject of the journal, and research funding were assessed (Table 1 and Table 2).

Main findings

The main findings of the review revealed that some aspects of PB have been addressed such as the definition of PB[4], causative model[2], econometric model[21], media reporting of PB[3], responsible factors for PB[2], psychological reasons for PB[5-7], controlling strategy[8], measuring instrument[27], challenges to explore PB[9], and geographical distribution[2]. However, the methods were superficial that instigated further studies to replicate the observations.

Distribution of the studies

The study revealed that more than three-quarters (85.71%) of the research output on PB has occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an indication of the growing public health relevance of this phenomenon. More than sixty percent (64.28%) of the papers were original contributions indicating that the more empirical studies are coming out gradually (Table 1). Most of the studies applied survey and cross-sectional study design, which may be explained by the pattern of PB as it appears irregularly, episodically, and erratically in response to the adverse stimuli[2,9]. However, longitudinal studies are better in order to explore the behavior. Online media reports, social media, and Google Trends were also used, which may be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdown was applied.

Responsible factors

Several studies have looked at the etiological underpinnings of PB, mainly in terms of psychological and social factors that may contribute to the phenomenon[5-7]. The results are intuitive and point to the significance of perception of commodity and time scarcity, sense of uncertainty as well as the herd instinct, which has its basis in the social learning theory, as potential contributors to the genesis of PB[2,5-7]. Further, perceptions of price differential and price fluctuations have been found to correlate with PB behavior; this has implications from a management perspective and highlights the importance of maintaining supply chains.

Controlling measures of PB

Little empirical evidence is available on the management of PB. One group of authors proposed an online cognitive behavior therapy model for PB, but it was not tested[23]. The media should play a central role in curbing PB by spreading awareness about the phenomenon and adopting responsible reporting practices. A collaborative approach between the media, government, and health sector would foster a collective sense of responsibility and bring about sustainable changes in reporting practices, a key strategy to control PB[3].

Drawing upon these insights, it appears that PB can be controlled by adequate, timely, and consistent information on the evolving situation with an additional focus on clarifying misinformation or rumors. To reduce visual cues, big retail stores can encourage online shopping at least for those who are young/internet savvy. This will reduce long queues outside shopping stores, which is a visual signal for other buyers to join, and will reduce the possibility of such images being circulated in the mass media and social media, another important cue for PB[10]. Opening fair price shops where commodity prices are tightly regulated may be helpful in curbing panic purchases.

Academic domains

Researchers from several specialties took part in PB research, multiple academic domains have been researched, and articles have been published in several specialty journals such as psychiatry, psychology, business, sales and marketing, public health, supply chain, economics, management, consumer behavior, disaster preparedness, e-commerce, consumer behavior, marketing, prevention strategies, media, social network, economics, communication, information management, sociology, personality, nursing, health economics, food policy, epidemiology, community health, and engineering (Table 2). Consumer behavior patterns have been studied during different situations such as pandemic[28] and seasonally recurring disasters[40]. Insights from these studies can be used to spread awareness about PB, facilitate the identification of hoarders, and take steps to mitigate supply chain disruptions[37]. Reducing conflicting information from different media sources and giving advance information about impending seasonal disasters would assist people in staggering their purchases and reduce eleventh-hour PB. Concordance of information from media sources is likely to promote trust in the media, a key element that has been linked to an increased likelihood of distress purchases[22].

Distribution of authors

Most of the authors were affiliated with institutions from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Singapore, and the United States (Table 2). The fact that more than half of the studies reviewed originated from Asia may reflect the proneness of countries in the region for PB, probably due to a combination of structural issues, public mistrust, and lack of adequate governmental action. More than forty percent (42.85%) of the papers had intercountry collaborations signifying the common interest of the research. Among the 10 funded projects, China had the highest funding (3 full; 1 partial); Australia (2), Hong Kong (1 partial), United States (1), Poland (1), Taiwan (1), and Singapore (1).

Strengths of the study

This is the first systematic approach to provide an overview and identify the research gaps on the emerging research topic. Only peer-reviewed published articles were reviewed.

Limitations

The search was done cross-sectionally by a single individual (first author). Only articles published in the English language were included. Preprints were not included.

CONCLUSION

PB is a relatively newer concept to get the attention of the research community. The study revealed several important aspects of PB research including research trends, major studied areas, geography, collaboration, and funding of studies. This review would help policymakers, researchers, funders, and other stakeholders to shape their decision while studying PB. Further robust studies with replication of the findings are warranted to fill the research gaps identified in this review.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS
Research background

Panic buying is an under-addressed research entity.

Research motivation

Sporadic evidence is coming out in recent days.

Research objectives

We aimed to see the perspectives of panic buying that have been studied through November 15, 2020.

Research methods

We did a systematic search in PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, and Google Scholar and reviewed 42 articles.

Research results

The study identified the distribution of study, aspects of panic buying, academic domain related to panic buying, distribution of authors, the specialty of the authors and journals, funding, and collaborations of the identified articles.

Research conclusions

Although the study identified some important perspectives, further studies are warranted in a systematic manner.

Research perspectives

The review provides a good insight into the different stakeholders to plan further studies and prevent panic buying.

Footnotes

Manuscript source: Invited manuscript

Specialty type: Behavioral Sciences

Country/Territory of origin: Bangladesh

Peer-review report’s scientific quality classification

Grade A (Excellent): 0

Grade B (Very good): 0

Grade C (Good): C

Grade D (Fair): D

Grade E (Poor): 0

P-Reviewer: Neal T, Shi RH S-Editor: Wang JL L-Editor: Filipodia P-Editor: Li JH

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