When the coronavirus gets tough, the tough get stockpiling

Research explains why consumers hoard –  and how retailers should respond

Mar 19, 2020
Logistics

SMITH BRAIN TRUST  As concern over the spread of novel coronavirus deepens, retailers are struggling to keep pace with a seemingly overwhelming urge to stockpile.

In an op-ed yesterday in The Conversation, researchers Martin Dresner, a professor of logistics, business and public policy at the University of Maryland, Xiaodan Pan of Concordia University and Benny Mantin of the University of Luxembourg explain their research into the factors that drive consumers to empty store shelves and hoard goods in the face of risks, and how retailers should respond.

Both retailers and local governments face challenges caused by consumer stockpiling when emergencies such as the coronavirus outbreak hit.

Compared to more predictable environmental emergencies such as hurricanes, the diffusion process of the coronavirus outbreak is difficult to forecast. The widespread outbreak of the coronavirus may also lead to global shortages on a larger scale than the hurricane events, thus making it more difficult for retailers to shift inventory around their networks to accommodate regional demands.

Read the rest in The Conversation.

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About the Expert(s)

Martin Dresner

Martin Dresner received his Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on two broad areas, air transport policy and logistics management. Professionally, he is President of the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) and a past president of the Transportation and Public Utilities Group (TPUG) of the Allied Social Sciences Association and of the Transportation Research Forum (TRF). 

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