Californians among the most guilty of panic buying during the pandemic

Cherry Digital, a leading performance public relations and content marketing agency, conducted an analysis of Google search data for the words ‘toilet paper’ over March 2020 (the height of the panic buying period), and compared this to March 2019. They identified that the biggest panic buyers in the country resided in Arizona. Online searches by residents of the Grand Canyon State increased by a whopping 1,115 percemt compared to the previous year!

Californians emerged in second place in the ‘Roll of Shame’, placing them among the most guilty of panic buying at the start of the pandemic. Online searches for toilet paper here increased by 9,710 percent.

It can also be revealed that the good people of Alaska were comparatively saintly (although not completely guilt-free), as their online searches for toilet paper ‘only’ increased by 1,234 percent.

Online searches for ‘toilet paper’ increased 9,710 percent among Californians. Arizonans were the most guilty of panic buying during the pandemic.

Back in 2020, the humble, yet indispensable household consumable, toilet paper, became somewhat of an icon of mass panic during the pandemic. People across the country scrambled to single-ply – er, sorry, singlehandedly – stockpile as many rolls as possible from any source; and by any means necessary.

A San Francisco store even saw the outbreak of a fight between shoppers during the panic, resulting in bottles being smashed to the floor.

The media and public figures at the time were quick to condemn such behavior, pointing out that such acts were both selfish and unnecessary. And now, two years on with the benefit of data, we can accurately determine where people were most guilty of panic buying during the pandemic.