Not surprisingly face masks, hand sanitisers and disinfectants have seen an immediate surge in demand.
Heightened concerns about the growing number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases have resulted in a spike in online orders from pharmacies as well as door deliveries from restaurants.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Michael Thomas, partner, Health Practice, Kearney, noted that the virus is having a “major” impact on pharmacy and retail supply chains.
“Not surprisingly face masks, hand sanitisers and disinfectants have seen an immediate surge in demand and outright stock-outs in major on and off-line channels, not only in directly affected countries but well beyond,” he said. “Where stocks exist, they are frequently subject to a surge in pricing.”
What is beginning to emerge, he explained, is a more generalised impact on retail behaviour. The concern of contracting the disease has led to people avoiding public spaces and gatherings, which is driving more home consumption. “In some markets, we are already seeing precautionary stockpiling of basic foodstuffs and consumer health products like analgesics, as households respond to the real risk of quarantine. Photographs of bare shelves in supermarkets in Italy were circulated within a matter of hours of the first cases being reported.”
Looking to the future, he said that further disruption can be expected as the full impact of the manufacturing slow-down and shut-downs are felt across global supply chains.
“The Chinese manufacturing sector as a whole is expected to contract in absolute terms this quarter,” he said. “Now that new reported cases outside of China exceed those within China, the impact on supply chains will become even more global. Many countries, like China, South Korea, Italy and France, are already implementing or considering the introduction of economic stimulus measures in response to the risk of severe manufacturing, supply chain and economic disruption. The coronavirus is really putting to the test to resilience of pharmacy and retail supply chains.”
Several experts also shed light on changing consumer behaviours when it came to dining out.
“With the rising concern of the spread of Covid-19, we have witnessed a sizeable uptick in online food orders due to what we believe is a safety measure against eating or being in public spaces,” said Tamer Elkhayat, director and co-founder of Pinza.
Similarly, Khalid Baareh, co-founder and CEO at iKcon, said: “People always seek their well-being during certain seasons of the year, whereby we notice an increase in orders of certain cuisine types. However, the past couple of months have presented an exceptional situation that has averted customers from attending public places. As a result, the number of orders of all types of food we have been delivering has been monumental.”
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