HOUSTON – (March 20, 2020) – Many Americans who are worried about being able to provide food, water and other necessities for their families during the coronavirus outbreak aren’t making rational decisions, according to a consumer behavior expert at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

Credit: 123RF.com/Rice University

Utpal Dholakia, professor of marketing at Rice Business, is available to discuss the dynamics at play.

“Everyone is panic-buying, not just all over the country, but basically all over the world,” Dholakia said. “That makes the sense of urgency even more — are all these suppliers going to be able to keep up with the demand?”

Rather than try to find deals and stick to their normal routines, shoppers on panic sprees scoop up as much as they can, including items they might not even use, Dholakia said. They generally spend more, and some might even rack up credit card debt, harming their financial health, he added.

To schedule an interview with Dholakia, contact Jeff Falk, director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

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Related materials:

Dholakia bio: https://business.rice.edu/person/utpal-dholakia.