TISSUE: Panic Buying Not Just a Local Phenomenon
By Tim Woods, Managing Director of IndustryEdge
Panic buying is not a peculiarly antipodean pursuit. Latest information tells us that across the world, where people have the means, they have built personal inventories of toilet paper and other tissue products.
Dec. 3, 2020 - Panic buying, hoarding or establishing a "personal inventory," however you want to describe it, the buying of tissue — especially toilet paper — has been a strange feature of the 2020 pandemic. In most countries — Australia and New Zealand are good examples — the only reason there were shortages of these products was because of the panic buying. Normal patterns of consumer behavior would easily have been met by local producers and importers.
It may be a comfort (or maybe not) that panic buying is not a peculiarly antipodean pursuit. Latest information tells us that across the world, where people have the means, they have built personal inventories of toilet paper and other tissue products.
The pandemic has sharpened some already clear trends in consumer behavior, as we heard earlier this month. A recent Tissue World conference (held online) heard from a number of tissue companies about the future trends that can be discerned from this period of peculiar consumer behavior. Here are some take outs:
- E-commerce deliveries of tissue products have increased five times compared to a year ago
- Online and discount club channels will deliver fastest growth in developed countries
- Manufacturers are pursuing "direct to consumer" or business to consumer (B2C) brands
- Supply chain costs may define competitive advantage in the future
- Supply chain cost is moving beyond "freight" and is now focused more on "post"
- By 2025, expectations are that 25% of retail will be "same day delivery"
- It is essential to have a multi-channel, end-to-end strategy.
- Scale considerations are changing to meet emerging and rapidly changing supply channels.
- Consumers less concerned about the "where" and more concerned about the "how". That is, suppliers need to focus on how they do business, more than where their products come from.
Sustainability and Innovation
- Successful producers are innovating and adding value through their emphasis on supply chain sustainability.
- Value in tissue goes beyond the product level, including into service models (like B2C delivery channels).
- A significantly higher spend is required on service in the new market.
- Consumers expect the shopping experience to be "click and its done" with less and less interaction required as time passes.
(The Managing Director of IndustryEdge, Tim Woods, was a panelist in the opening session of Tissue World's Digital Days.)
There is a lot for a business engaged in providing consumer products/services to consider, but essentially it boils down to this: expect to deal more directly with consumers, who will require better service and faster delivery than ever before and will not tolerate failures in the supply chain — right from the fiber source all the way to the smile on the face of the delivery driver dropping off their personal inventory.
This article is available in its entirety, along with graphs, on Forest2Market's website within its blog page: www.forest2market.com/blog
Forest2Market provides pricing data, supply chain expertise and strategic consulting services to participants in the global wood and fiber supply chain. To learn more, visit www.forest2market.com.