A surge in demand for disinfectant and cleaning products from Dettol to Lysol, during the novel coronavirus pandemic propped up sale for the owner of the brands, Reckitt Benckiser, even though the company has admitted that it is still finding it difficult to meet up with the demand for its cleaning products in pockets some markets, including in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
During the first half of the current year, and with a 11.9 per cent rise in total revenues, at £6.9bn, the company, which also owns brands including Cillit Bang, Nurofen and Durex, comfortably beat market expectations.
An sudden and significant growth in demand and sale of its hygiene division drove the performance of the company during the period. The company noted a 70 per cent rise in sale of Lysol in North America and a 62 per cent growth in sale of Dettol globally. Additionally, the stay at home orders during the pandemic also helped the company report a 60 per cent surge in the total online sales of Reckitt Benckiser products.
The company expects that demand for personal and household cleaning products would get back to more normal levels once the pandemic was over, said Laxman Narasimhan, the Reckitt chief executive.
“There has been quite a seismic shift in how people are living,” he said. “We expect it to continue but not at levels it has been. People are nesting at home, you see that in the number of plates being washed and cooking at home. When the pandemic hit, the lockdown hit, we did see pantry loading. People did go out and buy more than they normally would to make sure the pantry is stocked. But at the end of the day underlying consumption [of cleaning products] doesn’t necessarily change. We are seeing an unwind of that.”
With combined sales of over £4.5bn each year globally, the brands Lysol and Dettol were described as being “mega brands” by Narasimhan. While highlighting global demand, he pointed out to a very popular campaign called Dettol hand washing challenge that was run on the video site TikTok in India and which garnered more than 124 billion views.
The company is still struggling to keep up with demand in some markets, even though the company had managed to adjust to the disruption to its supply chains particularly during the early stages of the pandemic, he admitted.
“Supply clearly is stronger and we are producing more than what we did in the past, but not enough and we are bringing more on,” he said. “[It is about] ensuring we have the right mix in place so when people walk into a store [our products] are available. Clearly in certain pockets we are still not available to the level we would like to be and that continues to be an area of focus. Certainly some pockets of the UK, which we are working to fix, and certain parts of the US, no question.”
He added that “lower social interactions” during the pandemic, with pubs, bars and clubs shut and the nation social distancing under lockdown, has impacted Durex sales.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)