The thought that Australians may be unable to get a hold of essential items amid the coronavirus pandemic sent waves of panic through the country.
Ironically, it became something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as many begin to stock up on supplies at once, thus creating shortages produced not by supply issues but by surging demand.
Images of empty supermarket shelves and a lack of toilet paper meant this panic buying only led to more panic buying – and the cycle appeared to get worse, as vulnerable Australians suddenly were unable to find the foods and goods they needed.
Thankfully, it appears the country may be turning a corner, according to new data from ANZ.
"We have officially started to calm down a little," ANZ economist Adelaide Timbrell said in a tweet. "ANZ data shows stockpiling is abating on food and is shifting a bit to non-food categories [like] entertainment, hardware supplies, [and] electrical, as people prepare more broadly for being stuck at home."
Spending on groceries and toiletries had spiked 80% on last year's levels before simmering down to the 45% mark.
Surging demand for groceries has managed to skew overall retail figures, as Australians increase in food shopping offsets empty shopping centres.
A spokesperson for Coles confirmed to Business Insider Australia that the supermarket giant was seeing a slowing of demand.
"Pleasingly, after an incredibly busy period, our stores now have more stock on display for customers and there are signs that the demand is beginning to slow," the spokesperson said.
"This is in part due to customers taking heed of advice to stop over-purchasing, and also increased numbers of team members working in our stores, support from suppliers to improve availability, introducing purchase limits, reducing the hours of trade, and government intervention to relax truck curfews.”
Woolworths also saw a flattening of demand over the weekend, but a spokesperson said there was still a way to go.
"While product availability is getting better and better each day, we still have more work to do after weeks of unprecedented demand," the spokesperson said. "Pleasingly, demand moderated over the weekend and customers are respecting the limits we’ve put in place."
"Our teams and suppliers continue to work round the clock to replenish stock levels across our stores. We thank our customers for their continued patience and support during this challenging time."