Economy

The pandemic affects many aspects of our economy. Many businesses have to stop their operations and lay off employees. Production and distribution of daily necessities remain active but with limited resources. We will analyze those impacts.

Research Topics

1. Influence on supply chain

  1. Toilet paper: In many countries, the media has reported mass toilet paper purchasing behaviors. We visualize situations in cities all over the world based on products sold on Amazon. More details
  2. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment): Face masks could be one of essential goods to avoid infection not only for doctors and nurses but also for the general public. Similar to toilet paper, large quantities are in demand across nations.
  3. Pasta: Food supplies that can be stored for long periods of time is important when people stay at home for weeks. Pasta (especially spaghetti) could be a popular food to be stored in the pantry.

Topic 1. Toilet paper

Contributors: Yuta Kanzawa and Kunihiko Miyoshi

Data

We extracted expected delivery days and prices of toilet paper from Amazon websites around the world (*1) starting from April 9, 2020. Delivery locations were determined by the postal codes available on the websites, or by the locations based on our point of access (*2). Estimated delivery days is calendar days between the earliest date shown in the product page in Amazon and the date we saw that page (*3).

  • *1 Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.it, Amazon.es, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.cn, Amazon.in, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.mx, Amazon.com, Amazon.com.br
  • *2 For example, when accessing Amazon.com from Japan, only expected delivery days to Japan is shown with international shipping, but not to any US city with domestic shipping.
  • *3 If a product page says you can "get it as soon as Friday, May 1 - Thursday, May 7" as of April 27, estimated delivery days of that product is 4 days.

Fact 1. Estimated Delivery Days (EDD)

In general, city-wise median values of estimated delivery days are decreasing or being flat (Fig. 1).

EDD for US cities rapidly changes after April 15 in the range of 7 to 52 days, and is at a relatively high level compared to the other cities. Supply to US cities could be significantly slowed due to the pandemic.

In most of European and Asian cities, toilet papers are to be delivered within 10 days except Indian cities (Delhi and Mumbai). The most notable city is Mexico City, Mexico, where EDD is being smallest over the time (less than 3 days).

Figure 1: Delivery of Toilet Paper in Amazon
On April 16, there was no available product for Mumbai. See Fact 3 for details.

Fact 2. Price

People can purchase a roll of toilet paper under 2 USD in most cities except in Beijing, China (Fig. 2). US cities have higher values compared to other cities, and Mexico City has the lowest values followed by Brazilian cities.

Higher prices in Beijing could be a result of products sold in Amazon China being imported from Europe and Japan where the governments have closed borders or limited international travel.

Figure 2: Price of Toilet Paper in Amazon

Fact 3. Availability

In the most cities, more than 50% of listed toilet papers have been available (*4). Especially, Brazilian cities have kept almost 100% availability over the time.

On the other hand, numbers with Indian cities of Mumbai and Delhi have been totally different from the others. Availability in Mumbai have been less than 20%, and even zero or single digit on some days. It had improved shortly after April 16, but has been flat around 10% or slightly decreasing. Availability in Delhi has been better than Mumbai and kept improving, but it’s still lower than the other cities.

Figure 3: Availability of Toilet Paper in Amazon
  • *4 Availability is based on Amazon's stock (sold or delivered by Amazon).

Fact 4. Delivery and Price of Toilet Paper

Figure 4 is a time lapse visualization of expected delivery days and price.

US cities move mostly in the right side of the area while European and Asian cities are in the left side. Beijing is alone in the left upper area and Mexico City stays at the left bottom corner.

Figure 4: Delivery & Price of Toilet Paper in Amazon

We will continue to monitor delivery delays and price changes.