At the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S., brief shortages of food, disinfectants and toiletries swept through the country. Americans were quick to stock up on essentials like Lysol, toilet paper and paper towels, and this wave of purchases caused a shortfall that’s lasted for months. New data, however, shows the shortages may finally be easing.
In data from Nielsen collected by the Wall Street Journal, sales in paper towels have drastically declined over the last four months after a short tsunami of anxiety purchases. At a peak sales increase in March of 154 percent compared to 2019, increases compared to last year have tapered off to around 15 percent.
While sales have decreased, the Wall Street Journal reports that shortages are still occurring in many parts of the country. Demand is still well above that of last year, and the giant influx of purchases at the beginning of the year has caused a dearth in paper towels that is lasting well into August. Inventories for retailers across the country are slowly refilling to normal capacity, but many are focusing on new contingency plans for safety stocks of paper towels should future events like the one in March occur again.