Mail-order toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap saw demand spike by as much as 1100% this week during the nation’s panic buying frenzy, according to the company’s co-founder Simon Griffiths.
Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV days after his company sold out of its regular inventory, Griffiths said he’d never seen anything like it in the company’s eight-year history.
“I think at our peak on Tuesday, we were selling about 27 rolls every second,” he said. “I think that probably made us Australia’s number one toilet paper seller.”
The panic, which was spurred by community fears over the coronavirus outbreak and the potential of infected individuals being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, saw shoppers clear supermarket shelves across the nation.
Despite very real concerns over the virus, Australian medical experts and even Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was no reason for the Australian public to alter their day-to-day activities, save for instituting a solid hand-washing routine.
Although the Who Gives A Crap web store sold out, Griffiths said the company’s subscription customers can expect their loo roll to arrive as per usual.
“We’ve got enough to make sure we’re really comfortable on that front,” he said, speculating other toilet paper brands should replenish on shelves within a week.
Griffiths said the temporary shortages, and broader community concern over the viral outbreak, provided a great opportunity for Australians to see if those nearby are faring alright.
“It’s a good time to be thinking about our neighbours and our friends, and making sure that others around us are okay, because it’s probably going to be a bit of a tight spot.”
In a tweet sent on Tuesday night, Griffiths said the Sydney suburbs of Mosman and Balmain were the postcodes most over-indexed in terms of new purchases.
Panic buying facts from @WhoGivesACrapTP AU data:
– 🧻 sales are up 8x. People really panicking over not having TP. Imagine being one of 2.3 billion w/o a 🚽!
– NSW buying TP the hardest. Mosman & Balmain over-indexing the most 😱
– NT very relaxed. A reg day in Alice & Darwin 🤷♂️
— Simon Griffiths (@simongriffiths) March 3, 2020
He says that new data, based on increases over the past week, shows Wollstonecraft, Balmain, St Ives, and Avalon Beach were the biggest NSW hotspots.
Over the border in Victoria, Toorak and Caulfield North experienced the biggest upticks, while the ACT, SA, and the NT were relatively subdued, experiencing sales spikes of between five and six times the average.
But it isn’t just the local community which Griffiths has on his mind. Who Gives A Crap donates a portion of its profits to non-profits which provide sanitation facilities to vulnerable communities worldwide, and Griffiths sees an increased awareness of the business’ charitable side as a “silver lining” to the recent phenomenon.
With nearly 2.3 billion people worldwide lacking access to a toilet, Griffiths says “it’s an awesome opportunity for us to start engaging with people about the importance of local sanitation.”
The takeaways here: your loo roll supplies are in safe hands, there’s no need to panic buy, and some places have been experiencing sanitary shortages far beyond what the average Australian could imagine.