Retailers in the UAE are urging consumers to stay calm and refrain from bulk buying. This comes after consumer sentiment marginally tilted towards staying well stocked for a number of reasons, which include preparations amid the COVID-19 situation.
When Khaleej Times visited a few popular supermarkets in Dubai for spot checking, customers seemed composed. There was no noticeable price change in items, not even a surge in traffic at check-out counters.
The situation was far from some scenarios reported in other parts of the world: There are no scuffles over tissue paper nor hoarding of essential supplies.
At stores here, we spotted a few trolleys filled with disinfectants, long-life milk and dry food products.
Ethiopian resident Banchi Abiy’s shopping cart was full of items like pasta, flour, jam, peanut butter and milk for her family of five, with three children.
“I know adequate steps are being taken to keep communities and cities safe. But a little bit of preparation and pre-planning does not hurt, especially in large families where the general consumption is higher,” Banchi said.
“Stocking up on bottles of water was also a necessity, more so because summer is around the corner,” she added.
Indian resident Neena Sharma also decided to pick up a few extra essential goods during a recent visit to a Dubai supermarket.
She said: “I cannot drive, so I have to depend on public transport to do my grocery shopping. In the current situation, I am reluctant to expose myself too much, thus I’m minimising outings. Therefore, I decided to buy a few more basic products than usual.”
Bharati Vatnani, who is the head of procurement and marketing at West Zone Supermarket, noted that they haven’t spotted a noticeable shift in shopping trends.
“We’ve not seen a significant change in the buying pattern of consumers, the shift is barely visible,” he said.
Some expats, like Russian national Liara, are confident that grocery stores won’t be running out of essentials at this time.
“I don’t believe in overreacting in such situations and I am not stockpiling at all. I don’t feel there is a need for it yet, and to create unnecessary panic,” Liara said. “I am sure supermarkets are adequately stocked.”