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Why the pandemic caused shortage in toilet paper?





In Malaysia, the Paper Industry is categorized into two segments: Household & Personal Care paper (paper we use at home) and Away from Home paper (paper that we find in public toilets or offices). 


The Retail stores and Supermarkets usually keep several weeks of toilet paper stock, the sudden increase in demand which largely caused by panic buying is the main reason that caused the toilet paper (Household & Personal Care Paper) shortage. However, due to business closings or factories quarantines the JRTs (Away from Home Paper) are thus decreased.


Also, the sudden increase in demand of toilet paper is that people actually do use more toilet paper during the pandemic while staying at home.


One finding in the US, “the average American family of 2 to 3 people, usually uses about 409 rolls of toilet paper a year. Its estimated that people will use about 40% more toilet paper than usual if they spend all their time at home during the pandemic.” This scenario may also applicable to families that use toilet paper on daily basis in Malaysia.


In comparison to last year, this year the panic buying behaviour in toilet paper has subsided and this will likely lead to a surplus of toilet paper stocks for many manufacturers.