In the light of recent coronavirus cases across the world and in India, demand for hand sanitisers have soared and chemists are running out of stocks.
If you want to get your hands on a bottle of hand sanitiser for yourself or for your family, chances are that your local chemist has already run out of stock.
A ground report by CNBC-TV18 shows that hand sanitisers are out of stock at most chemist shops across metros. “It’s been a week since we have run out of hand sanitisers. We have been asking company distributors but they don’t have stock either,” said a representative at a medical store in Worli.
The reason for this short supply is surge in demand over the last month. Demand for hand sanitisers has more than doubled over the last month, say industry officials. Key players in the space include brands like Dettol, Savlon, Himalaya, and Godrej.
Companies have sensed this urgency and are ramping up production to meet the increased demand. Godrej Consumer, which manufactures hand sanitisers and hand wash under brand ‘Protekt’ is ramping up production in company owned units as well as with vendor partners.
Himalaya, which manufactures ‘Pure Hands’ hand sanitisers, has seen a 10x surge in demand last month for the product. On average, Himalaya sells nearly 4 lakh hand sanitisers a month across SKUs. The company is looking at scaling up capacity at two additional plants to meet demand.
HUL, which manufactures Lifebuoy brand of hand wash and hand sanitisers, has launched advertising campaigns to encourage personal hygiene and hand wash.
“Given the surge in demand for hygiene products, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consumers have access to products that keep them safe such as Lifebuoy hand sanitisers and hand wash. While certain pockets may witness a shortage due to sudden demand, overall, we have adequate stock of hand sanitisers and are geared to meet the increased demand,” said HUL in a statement to CNBC-TV18.
GCPL has also rolled out digital campaigns on Godrej Protekt to create awareness on regular hand washing to prevent spread of viruses.
On average, most consumer goods companies make only 1-2 percent of their overall revenues from the hand sanitisers category and, therefore, ramping up this capacity to cater to the surging demand is posing a big challenge. Manufacturers are also getting large orders for export of hand sanitisers, but that again is a challenge, said industry officials.
ITC said that it has ensured that its ‘Savlon’ hand sanitisers and hand hygiene products are adequately available in the market.
"There is adequate supply of Savlon hygiene products in the market. Savlon continues to focus on enhancing awareness about hand hygiene and urges consumers to maintain good hygiene practices," said ITC in a statement.