What Is Panic Buying?

Panik Alışveriş Nedir?

Panic buying, defined as panic purchasing behavior, is the act of making excessive purchases during periods of uncertainty, such as natural disasters, economic crises, pandemics, and wars. It is characterized by individuals engaging in buying behavior out of fear, anxiety, and panic, driven by the sense that something bad is going to happen. Panic buying involves socially undesirable herd behavior, where daily necessities are excessively bought, leading to depleted shelves. This behavior is a response of consumers to periods of uncertainty triggered by events such as natural disasters, economic crises, pandemics, and wars.

Individuals Engage in Panic Buying to Alleviate the Fear of Uncertainty

During periods of natural disasters, pandemics, economic crises, or wars, individuals experience various feelings related to fear, anxiety about the future, and the distress of losing control. As a result, individuals experience elevated stress levels. Coping with increased stress, fear, and anxiety, individuals tend to turn to reassuring and soothing behaviors. During times of uncertainty, individuals may engage in panic buying as a way to regain a sense of control over their lives through purchasing behavior that they can control.

Fear of Depletion of Basic Needs Drives Individuals to Panic Buying

During uncertain times, individuals become apprehensive and panic about the possible depletion of basic needs or an imminent increase in prices. In response to these fears, individuals alter their consumption habits. People tend to stockpile products that constitute their basic needs, creating a sense of security for the future. The necessity to take precautions against potential shortages of essential products drives individuals toward panic buying, and possessing a sufficient quantity of needed items provides a sense of security.

Individuals Are Influenced by Others’ Behavior, Leading to Panic Buying

During periods of uncertainty, individuals are influenced by the panic buying behaviors of others. Information in the media about certain products running out, images of empty store shelves, and photos of shopping carts filled with specific items create anxiety about the depletion of necessary products. Individuals, prompted by these reports, not only fear the shortage of products but also feel the need to conform to the panic buying behavior of others. As a result, individuals adapt to rapidly changing purchasing behaviors in society, leading them to engage in panic buying.

Managing Panic Buying

In times of uncertainty, individuals may struggle with stress management. Periods of uncertainty can prompt individuals to exhibit panic behaviors due to the fear and anxiety they experience. Managing panic buying requires the involvement of politicians, product suppliers, business owners, and the media. Reassuring statements about the availability of products, information and news shared to alleviate fears, and crisis management can all contribute to managing panic buying behaviors.


Kıymalıoğlu, A. (2021). Determinants of panic buying during the Covid-19 pandemic: 25th MarketingCongressPaper,Ankara,June30–July2,2021. [https://pazarlama.org.tr/uploads/abstract/abstract_81-1131-2238-v2_ok-U.pdf]


Our Current Psychology Publications

Do you need help? Let's get to the size.