With another deadly wave of the coronavirus outbreak likely to take grip this winter, more than a third of consumers — or 86.7 million Americans — have already started stockpiling household supplies.

Many consumers remember the frustrations of going from store to store in the early months of the pandemic to find scarce products such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Not only are consumers taking strides to avoid a repeat of that scenario, but many are spending more money in the process, a LendingTree survey has found, according to a news release.

Key findings

  • More than a third of consumers (34%) — or 86.7 million — have already begun stockpiling supplies for a potential winter wave of COVID-19. An additional 35% plan to stockpile, but haven’t done so yet. That number jumps to 44% for parents with kids under 18 (compared to 28% with adult children and 26% with no kids).
  • Of those who have begun stockpiling, the most-purchased items include food (64%), hand sanitizer (61%), cleaning supplies (60%), face masks (60%), water (49%), and paper products (49%).
  • Consumers have spent $359 on average stocking up on coronavirus-related supplies during October and the first week of November. When we conducted a similar survey at the beginning of the pandemic in March, Americans had spent $178 on average.
  • 49% of Americans said there were some supplies they regret not purchasing when the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. Among those with regrets, paper products (49%), cleaning supplies (46%), hand sanitizer (43%), face masks (38%), and alcohol (30%) were the items consumers most wished they had stocked up on.
  • 27% of consumers have credit card debt related to purchasing pandemic-related supplies. Those most likely to be in debt include Americans laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic (42% vs. 15% whose income was not impacted) and parents with young children (39% vs. 18% of those with adult kids and 19% of those with no kids).

The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic may cause anxiety, but preparing for the unknown can give you a sense of comfort — and protect your finances. “Stockpiling is often impulse buying, and the best way to combat impulse buying is by making a budget and a spending plan,” said LendingTree’s Chief Credit Analyst, Matt Schulz.

To view the full report, visit here.

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,050 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Nov. 6-9, 2020.

Source: LendingTree.com