Sales of Dettol soar during lockdown but reduced demand for condoms

More cleaning.. but less sex: Sales of Dettol and Finish and Airwick soar during lockdown by up to 20% while social distancing reduces demand for Durex condoms

  • Goods giant Reckitt Benckiser said its Dettol products are flying off the shelves
  • But sales its Durex condoms have dipped thanks to social distancing rules 
  • Company has seen sales in last three months jump 6.9 per cent to £3.51billion  

Sales of condoms have plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic while sales of cleaning products and air fresheners have skyrocketed, according to the owner of Dettol and Durex.

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser said its Dettol and Lysol products are flying off the shelves and have entered 19 new countries since February. 

Sales of the company’s hygiene products have gone up by 20 per cent in the three months to the end of September when compared with the same time frame last year. 

Overall sales in the same period have jumped 6.9 per cent to £3.51billion.  

Sales of condoms have plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic while sales of cleaning products and air fresheners have skyrocketed, according to the owner of Dettol and Durex

However, social distancing has reduced sales of Durex condoms and sexual health products, with bosses suggesting this could have a knock-on effect on its baby formula business next year with an expected fall in the global birth rate.  

The company revealed: ‘Following a more challenging first half of the year, relaxations of social distancing regulations resulted in improved demand for our sexual well-being products, including Durex, which saw double digit growth in revenue.

‘This has been particularly pronounced in markets where the rate of pandemic infection has materially improved.’

It added: ‘The pandemic has heightened the societal importance of hygiene, seen increasingly as the foundation for health.

‘Demand for our category-leading disinfectant products has been exceptional in recent months, with increased penetration and new consumers demonstrating a preference for trusted heritage brands driving growth.

‘As a result, we expect structurally higher levels of demand to persist longer term as new consumer cleaning and sanitation habits become engrained.’

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser said its Dettol and Lysol products are flying off the shelves and have entered 19 new countries since February

It added: ‘In addition, as consumers have sought to embrace self-care for themselves and their families, we have seen growth in preventative treatments, such as vitamins, minerals and supplements (‘VMS’).

‘Stay at home’ dynamics and social distancing have had significant effects on some of our brands. For example, Finish and Air Wick have benefited from consumers spending more time at home.’

But it warned: ‘There is also evidence that birth rates will be further lowered in coming quarters as a result of behaviour changes related to the pandemic. This is expected to have an impact on market growth for our infant nutrition business in 2021.

‘Sexual wellbeing products also saw temporarily reduced demand, due to reduced social interactions, although, where markets have started to open up, there have already been good signs of recovery.’

The nutrition business, which includes supplements and vitamins, saw strong growth in sales of RB’s Airborne dietary supplement, although pills for joint pain – Move Free and MegaRed – took a hit with consumers becoming less active during the pandemic.

Bosses remain confident for the division and said the fall in sales was due to currency fluctuations, although concerns remain over the closed border between Hong Kong and China, which is affecting sales.

Chief executive Laxman Narasimhan added that, despite the boost in sales from the pandemic, he remains mindful of the responsibilities the business has to avoid accusations of profiteering.

‘If you take a look at our announcements over the last year, we have announced that the company is guided by a purpose to protect, health and nurture,’ he said.

‘We set aside 1 per cent of our operating profit into ensuring we can deliver to our consumers and society at large.’

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