DEFINITION of 'Panic Buying'

A type of behavior marked by a rapid increase in purchase volume as the price of a good or security increases. Panic buying has the effect of reducing the supply of the good or security, while at the same time driving the price up even higher. This type of behavior is often the result of a feeling of being "left out" if a purchase is not made immediately.

BREAKING DOWN 'Panic Buying'

Panic buying may result from a number of different events. A public's panic buying of a good, such as water or bread, may come as the result of news indicating impending bad weather, as consumers fear a shortage of items as a result of weather-related scarcity.

In the stock market, an investor may see a rapid increase in the price of a security and buy shares out of fear that they will miss out on continued increases. This purchase behavior often results in a suspension of fundamental evaluation, which can result in losses once the market calms down.

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