As the coronavirus outbreak rises in the United States — there are more than 700 cases reported — retailers and the industry are in a second-wave of reaction. Target, H-E-B, Kroger and other retailers are putting limits on purchases of hand sanitizers and virus-related items, and more trade shows have been postponed.
COVID-19 stems from a member of the coronavirus family that is similar to SARS and MERS, which have seen outbreaks in the past. Health experts have urged consumers to regularly wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer to prevent the spread of the disease, so supplies on sanitizers, disinfectants and more have been going fast at retail.
Nielsen released another round of data for the four weeks ended Feb. 29 and the sales spikes continue. In its previous four-week report ended Feb. 22, sales of hand sanitizer were up 73% compared with a year ago. They’re now up 127.5% for the four-week period ended Feb. 29 compared with the same four weeks a year ago. Overall, hand sanitizer sales are up 313.4%.
Sales of household maintenance masks are up 475% overall, and the latest four-week report saw a nearly 257% increase in sales, compared with a year ago. Medical masks sales are up 173.6% in the last four-week report. Food and cleaning categories are seeing increases too in the latest four-week roundup: aerosol disinfectants (46.6%, nearly 100% overall), first aid kits (up 22.7% for the four weeks, 52.3% overall), bath and shower wipes (23.8% latest, 59.6% overall), oat milk (348% last four weeks, 322.5% overall) and canned meat (16.6% latest, 31.8% overall). Fruit snacks, pretzels, water, supplements, pet medicine and more are all seeing double-digit growth similar to the categories above.