Hand sanitizer sales have been spiking in the United States in tandem with the worldwide spread of coronavirus
As more coronavirus cases came to light globally, in-store and online sales of hand sanitizers accordingly saw a sharp uptick in the United States, according to The NPD Group.
In the wake of the World Health Organization’s Jan. 30 declaration that the outbreak was a “public health emergency of international concern,” hand sanitizer dollar sales rose by 67% in the four weeks ending Feb. 22, 2020 from the same period in 2019. Online sales alone increased by 170%. Hand wipes also experienced a rise: Sales were up 11% overall and 47% online.
Hand sanitizer made up $14 million, or a little more than one-quarter, of total hand cleaner sales at retail during these weeks, with 19% of those sales happening online. Product sales within the commercial B2B channel followed a similar trajectory; compared with previous months, hand sanitizer and wipe sales experienced a bump this past January, rising 28% and 5%, respectively.
“If we look more broadly over the past 26 weeks, sales of hand sanitizers and hand wipes have seen a lift in sales coinciding with the progression of flu season and coronavirus developments, as families, companies and schools boost their efforts to stay healthy,” says Leen Nsouli, executive director and office supplies industry analyst at Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD. “Hand sanitizer sales have surpassed where they were during the 2017-18 flu season, which the CDC reported as the most severe season since 2003-04.”
This rise in demand has led to shortages at retail, spurring grocers like Kroger, Publix, Wegmans and Target to limit purchases of hand sanitizers and other products deemed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Also, more shoppers in urban areas have been ordering groceries online to limit their contact with people who might expose them to the disease.