Clicks.
Clicks.
  • Along with other hygiene products toilet paper is now flying off South African shelves amid coronavirus scares.
  • Business Insider South Africa looked at a broad range of retailers to see if they were still selling toilet paper online.  
  • We found one vendor on Takealot who was selling toilet paper for almost double the usual price. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. 

Toilet paper, along with other hygiene products, is flying off South African shelves as coronavirus impacts our daily lives.

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa officially declared a state of disaster, and asked South Africans to avoid travel and close contact with other groups of people, which includes going to the shops. 

Thousands of South Africans are turning to ordering goods online. 

Read: Massive spike in online grocery orders after 'national disaster' declaration, Checkers says

Business Insider South Africa looked at a broad range of retailers to see if they were still selling toilet paper online. 

We found that some stores are already rationing the stock you can order; not all deliver; and many stores do not allow you to see if they have stock unless you register for their delivery services.


The costs of toilet paper costs were consistent at most retailers, except on Takealot. 

We found one vendor on Takealot that was selling Twinsaver toilet paper at almost twice the price offered by another retailer. It is worth keeping an eye out on price escalation as time runs on.

Our Twinsaver index:

Pick n Pay - 6 x 15 for R407.49  at R4.52 per roll.

Pick n Pay.
Pick n Pay.

Game  -  1 x 15 for R68.50 at R4.56 per roll.

Game.
Game.

Makro -  1 x 48 for R174.95 at R3.64 per roll.

Makro.
Makro.

On Takealot -  1 x 48 for R340 at R7.08 per roll. The same item was R356 at R7.42 per roll, earlier on Monday morning.

Takealot.
Takealot.

*all Twinsaver rolls were one ply and white. 


Here’s how you can order items online, and which stores currently have toilet paper. 

*as of 16 March 2020. 

Clicks - out of stock online.

Clicks.
Clicks.

All toilet paper listed on Click’s website is ‘out of stock’. 

For other items you can order door-to-door courier countrywide for R60 or FREE for orders over R450. Or you can order online, or collect your parcel at your nearest Clicks store for a collection fee of R15 or free for orders over R150. Turnaround time for both is one to three working days.

Game - out of toilet paper online.  

Game.
Game.

Game does offer online purchases, subject to certain addresses. If stock is unavailable it will not have a "add to basket' button. 

Game.
Game.


Makro - stock and delivers. 

Makro.
Makro.

Makro has a two- to five-day delivery waiting period. You can also check availability at stores online. You will need to set the region manually, thereafter it will tell you if the store has stock.

Pick n Pay - out of stock in some stores and online. 

Pick n Pay.
Pick n Pay.

Pick n Pay offers delivery as well as collection from a designated collection point or the Click n Collect point in store. You will need to register for the service and select the store and check if delivery is offered in your area.

You will need to select your region first before adding items to your trolley. Pick n Pay charges about R60 for a delivery slot, each available slot is marked with its relevant delivery fee.

If toilet paper is unavailable it will not allow you to add it to the trolley and the item will list as being out of stock.  Which we found out at the end of this process.

Takealot - some stock. 

Takealot.
Takealot.

If a product goes out of stock, it will reflect as such on the website or will no longer be visible on the website. Some hand sanitiser brands that were on sale a few weeks ago, are no longer listed on the site.

Customers should take note of the item’s estimated time of delivery as some items can take longer than a week to deliver, depending on the vendor. In some cases, shipping of toilet paper can take an estimated five to seven workdays. Takealot will refund you with store credit if you have purchased an item and they are unable to meet your order.  

Standard delivery is R60 but is free for orders totalling R450 or more.

Woolworths - out of stock in some stores, rationing purchases.  

Woolworths.
Woolworths.

Some Woolworths stores Business Insider visited have run out of toilet paper.

On the Woolworts site, if unavailable the item will not be listed on site at all, in contrast to other websites which generally tell you they don’t have stock.

Your first ever order is free, thereafter Woolworths delivers food in timeslots which can cost anywhere between R50 and R90. The cost of delivery is determined by your delivery address and the items that you have ordered. Some food orders can arrive within 24 hours.

They do not deliver to all addresses in South Africa and food items are delivered only in major metropolitan areas, where we can ensure freshness on delivery

Certain stock is now limited to 4 units per online order. 


Why toilet paper?

Purchasing toilet paper has nothing to do with reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Instead it is comforting for humans knowing we have it in stock, psychologist Mary Alvord, Associate Professor of Psychiatry told Time magazine. Humans are social creatures, and count on the community for survival. People seen as unclean or unwell are at risk of being shunned—which in the state of nature could mean death.


Coronavirus information sources:

See also | Covid-19 has been declared a national disaster in SA – here’s what that means

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