Subscribe to industry newsletters

Online searches for bottled water skyrocket as consumers stock up on Day Zero supplies

In preparation for Day Zero, now predicted for mid-May, many Capetonians are scrambling to get their hands on bottled water and JoJo Tanks.

Online searches for bottled water skyrocket as consumers stock up on Day Zero supplies
©server via 123RF
According to data from product discovery and comparison service PriceCheck, searches for bottled water have skyrocketed, up 577% since December, while JoJo Tanks are the most searched for item across the site. There’s also been a sharp spike in demand for the versatile water collection tanks, with searches up more than 100% since December. Searches for water tanks in general, meanwhile, are up 262%.

Given that some people are using the water they collect in these tanks for their household needs, it’s probably not surprising that the comparison site has seen a sharp spike in searches for 12V pumps (more than 1,000%), vital for pumping water out of their tanks and into their household plumbing. Others are hopeful that they can literally take water out of the air. The phrase “air to water” is the third most searched for term on the website.

Despite the severity of the crisis, it also seems that people are still desperate to have their gardens looking as good as possible. PriceCheck data shows that artificial grass is among the five most searched for products on the site.

Price spikes

While it would be tempting for suppliers to push up prices, PriceCheck CEO Kevin Tucker says there hasn’t been any abnormal movement in this regard. He does, however, note that “prices of specialised water saving products and devices are on the rise”.

While big-ticket items like JoJo tanks obviously draw a lot of attention, Tucker points out that consumers making small changes could go a long way to helping other cities avoid their own Day Zero scenarios. Buying things like hand sanitiser, dry shampoo and wet wipes all mean that less water needs to be used. Additionally, he suggests people should “use grey water wherever possible and try to keep those taps off, unless absolutely necessary.”

Those preparing themselves for Day Zero should stock up on some basic provisions. “When Day Zero hits, everyone should have the following available in their homes: hand sanitiser and wet wipes, bottled water, kettles, pots and buckets as well as basic medication to keep any water-borne illnesses at bay.”

Let's do Biz