In the early spring of 2020, the shortage of toilet paper and paper towels made headlines around the nation. For weeks on end, these necessary paper goods simply weren’t available on retail shelves and were even scarce online. On March 12th, the day after the World Health Organization finally declared COVID-19 an official pandemic, toilet paper sales soared 734% compared to sales on the same day one year prior.
By late summer, paper towels were available but still in short supply compared to normal times, but the newsworthy paper towel and toilet paper gap had largely subsided. Now, in the fall of this pandemic year, industry watchers and insiders fear another paper goods shortage is likely as new cases of the coronavirus spike all around America. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)
Markets as disparate as San Diego, CA and Somerset, MA have seen recent upticks in shoppers buying paper towels and toilet paper in bulk, leaving store supplies low. At some locations, people have again begun lining up outside of stores awaiting opening times so they can stockpile these and other essential goods.