Shortage of stamps: Instacart says it is having trouble fulfilling orders

New York
CNN Business

Tampons are in short supply and the global supply chain is once again to blame for the shortage of a basic necessity.

Stores and manufacturers acknowledged shortages of the product last week, confirming complaints that have been circulating on social media for months.

On Monday, on-demand grocery delivery service Instacart provided more evidence.

Searches for tampons increased by 13% on the platform’s app last week compared to the previous week. The company said the rate at which its personal shoppers were able to find pads on store shelves to fulfill those orders fell to 67% as of June 19, the lowest since the first weeks of the pandemic in April 2020.

As more women learn of the shortage, Instacart said it is seeing an increase in shoppers potentially looking to stock up, with sales of tampons on its platform up 29% week-on-week. on the other.

“We are starting to see turbulence of stamps appearing in the Instacart app in response to growing shortages, with buying behavior beginning to rival that of the start of the pandemic as customers shift to stockpiling behavior,” Laurentia Romaniuk , Instacart’s trend expert and senior product manager, said in a statement.

Romaniuk said Instacart’s app is able to alert customers if stamps are out of stock at a particular store they’re ordering from and will suggest an alternative.

The tampon shortages appear to stem from supply constraints around key materials such as cotton and plastic, which are also used in personal protective equipment and have been in high demand since the start of the pandemic.

The war in Ukraine has further reduced supply, as both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of fertilizers, used for growing cotton. A drought in Texas didn’t help either.

A representative for Procter & Gamble (PG), which owns the Tampax and Always tampon brands, told CNN Business last week that the Tampax team “is producing tampons 24/7 to meet the increased demand. “.

“We understand that it is frustrating for consumers not to find what they need,” the P&G spokesperson said in an email. “We can assure you that this is a temporary situation.”

Walgreens and CVS (CVS) said they are aware of shortages of tampons and other women’s health products in some areas and are working with their suppliers to ensure they can restock as soon as possible.

Market research firm IRI, which tracks out-of-stock products at retailers nationwide, said stores were 92.5% in stock with pads for the week ending June 12. .

“In total, 92.5% is good enough in stock for any category these days,” KK Davey, IRI’s president of customer engagement, said in a statement.

“Many categories have streamlined their assortments, and in general the number of unique items (or products) you see on the shelves has decreased over the past few years as manufacturers have struggled with material issues. raw materials, labor, packaging and transportation,” Davey said. “So shoppers, especially those using specialty or niche products, may not find some of their top picks on the shelf at some retailers. We think some of the headlines about tampon shortages might fall into this category.

– CNN’s Allison Morrow contributed to this report.

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