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Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Hand Sanitizer Market

Consumer Goods and Retail | Feb, 2021

When the world witnessed the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitizers turned into something of a holy grail. Although hand sanitizers have been commercially available for decades, the demand for disinfecting gel skyrocketed around the world, owing to its ability for reducing the transmission of germs and pathogens. Panic buying led to overconsumption of hand sanitizers and created a huge gap between demand and supply, which ultimately developed growth opportunities for many brands to tap into the splurging hand sanitizer market. While the COVID-19 virus undeniably accelerated sales, hand sanitizers have been on the rise due to increasing awareness about personal hygiene and well-being. Rising per capita income and adoption of westernization are likely to drive the growth of the Global Hand Sanitizers Market in developing nations. 


According to TechSci Research report, “Global Hand Sanitizers Market By Product Type (Gel, Liquid, Spray, Foam), By Distribution Channel (Pharmacy Stores, Supermarkets/Hypermarkets, Departmental/Convenience Stores, Others), By End User (Households, Hospitals, Others), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2025”, the global hand sanitizers market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15% during the forecast period, owing to increased awareness about health and hygiene globally. Additionally, splurge in consumer demand for portable sanitization products and hand hygiene, particularly to avoid the occurrence of contagious diseases, which are unfortunately on the rise over the past few decades. Even various government initiatives are stressing the need to educate consumers about health issues and measures to prevent them, which has been driving the growth of the global hand sanitizer market.  


Global Hand Sanitizers Market: Opportunities and Trends


·        Increasing awareness among consumers about hand hygiene

Globally, people are now becoming increasingly aware of the importance of hand hygiene, which can prevent the spread of various diseases. Rise in awareness programs about hand sanitization by various organizations such as WHO, FDA, and others for decreasing the probability of nosocomial foodborne illness and infections. Moreover, the millennial population is among the largest buyer of hand sanitizers as they are becoming more inclined towards pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Factors such as the conscious need for protection against germs, ease of use, and portability are also some of the factors attracting millennials towards hand sanitization products. Also, increased fear of contagious diseases such as SARS, Swine Flu H1N1, and the outbreak of COVID-19 has been fuelling the need to become more health-conscious. 


·        Increasing Influence of Internet in Shaping End-users' Purchasing Behavior

The plethora of information available on the internet and increasing use of social media have been instrumental in influencing the purchasing behavior of customers. Earlier, people did not spend a lot of money on personal care products as much as they did on other commodities, especially in developing countries. But, thanks to a growing number of influencers proactively communicating about the importance of using hygiene and personal care products, the demand for portable hand sanitizers has surged in recent years. Even the burgeoning number of e-commerce platforms have been fundamental in increasing awareness about grooming, personal care, and hygiene products, offering lucrative discounts and delivering relevant information to potential buyers, ultimately driving the sales of hand sanitizers. 


·        Growing Demand for Flavored & Organic Hand Sanitizers

A lot of commercial hand sanitizers contains gross chemicals, that contribute to the awful smell after applying the product. Some health-conscious people are reluctant to use alcohol-based sanitizers, owing to their long-term effects on the skin. Therefore, growth in demand for organic and chemical-free hand sanitizers have emerged in recent times as sustainable and organic ingredients are set to go from niche to mainstream market. Also, there has been a spike in demand for flavored and fragrant sanitizers as people do not want to smell bad and maintain the good health of the hands. Many beauty brands are responding to the desperate need for consumers that want to use the clean product with beautiful fragrances. A new breed of sanitizers come in a rainbow of colors, smell delightful, boast additional skincare benefits, and promise more than germ-free hands.


·        New players emerging in the hand sanitizer market 

From pharma to healthcare companies, lifestyle majors to brewers, fragrance makers to distillers, many brands from several industries forayed into the hand sanitizer market, owing to the increasing need for sanitizers, created by the coronavirus pandemic. As multiple market players are setting their foot in the global hand sanitizer market, the rise in competition has led to many different varieties and innovations in hand sanitizers as well as aggressive promotional activities to attract potential customers. Improved quality of hand sanitizers and their vast variety are driving the growth of the domestic and international hand sanitizer market.


·        Maintaining hand hygiene at the workplace 

Viruses and bacteria can thrive on inanimate surfaces such as doorknobs, laptops, desks, etc., and spread to other individuals via direct or indirect contact. As the world started to unwind, there was a growing need for hand sanitizers at the workplace as it was not possible to wash hands after touching different surfaces at the workplace. Thus, employees and employers are employing hand sanitizers at the workplace to prevent the spread of diseases, prevent absenteeism, and cut down costs. 


Challenges for Global Hand Sanitizer market 


·        High content of chemical ingredients in hand sanitizers

Use of hand sanitizers with alcohol and certain toxic ingredients such as benzalkonium chloride are not safe for long-term use. Moreover, there are concerns that using antibacterial sanitizers include bacteria-killing chemicals that can contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, reducing the impact of hand sanitizers for killing germs. Some alcohol-free sanitizers may not work as well and the chemicals they use could irritate your skin even more. Also, some sanitizers are not considered to be safe for pregnant women and children, so handwashing serves as a better alternative to maintain hygiene. 


·        Increasing accidents from hand sanitizers 

Some forms of gel hand sanitizers have prompted fire due to their flammable nature. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers put individuals at a greater risk to catch fire even after the product evaporates and dries completely. The rising number of accidents from hand sanitizers has been giving a bad reputation to the hand sanitization industry and affecting the sales of the products. 


How are top market players in the hand sanitization industry keeping up during COVID times?

·   With higher hygiene expectations from customers and public health authorities, Skin health and surface hygiene expert, GOJO Industries-Europe is making substantial investments to increase its capacity and meet the rising demands. GOJO has been running its facilities 24/7 and increasing the production of PURELL hand sanitizers to historic levels and working with existing suppliers to dramatically increase raw materials and packaging. Moreover, GOJO is also forging creative partnerships with a new organization for sourcing additional components such as bottles, pumps, and caps. Despite a number of brands making a way into the hand sanitizer market, PURELL remains the market leader, thanks to its focus on formulation due to its unmatched quality. 


·      Vi-Jon Inc., a manufacturer known for its flagship brand, Germ-X hand sanitizers to invest USD 70 million to expand its capacity at Smyrna, Tennessee, and St. Louis facilities. Witnessing a “step change” in hygiene practices, Vi-Jon is expanding its manufacturing facility to facilitate the exponential demand for hand sanitizers, which is not expected to cease any time sooner. 


·      Reckitt Benckiser Group, one of the leading market players in the global hand sanitization industry had a strong start to the year as shoppers continued to stock up hand sanitizers and disinfectants. The company has been extending brands, supplementing products such as Lysol laundry sanitizers, prompting companies and consumers to make lasting improvements in their cleaning routines, and boosting prospects for future sales. The organization is spending 100 million pounds to boost production capacity and hiring more people in its research and regulatory teams.


·       Dove, a Unilever-owned brand made a debut in hand sanitizers, rolling out two varieties- Dove Deep Moisture Hand Sanitiser and Dove Shea Butter Hand Sanitiser. Introducing moisturizing sanitizers that claim to be 99.99% effective against germs and viruses, Dove ensures that their hand sanitizer formula maintains the quality of the skin and keeps hands protected from germs.


How sugar mills fulfilled the demand for hand sanitizers in India?

When the pandemic broke out, hand sanitizers were hard to find in India. People stocked up on sanitizers and disinfectants, which caused a huge shortage in supply and led to a spike in prices. Owing to the increasing demand, the government prompted 149 sugar mills and distilleries to make sanitizer using ethanol. There was a significant drop in sanitizer prices as the sugar mills turned excess cane into ethanol, which they could easily use for making sanitizer. 


According to TechSci Research report, “India Hand Sanitizer Market By Product Type (Gel, Liquid, Foam, and Spray), By End User (Hospitals, Households, Restaurants & Hotels, and Others (Schools, etc.), By Distribution Channel (Pharmacies, Supermarkets / Hypermarkets, Departmental/Convenience Stores and Others (Online, Direct & Institutional Sales, etc.), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2030, India hand sanitizer market is projected to surpass USD 280.10 million by 2030. The growth of the hand sanitizer market in India can be attributed to rising awareness about healthy lifestyle & wellness, shifting consumer preference towards convenient hygiene products, and rising disposable income. Moreover, the strong marketing activities by leading brands, in addition to huge endorsements, are some other drivers of the hand sanitizer market in India. Moreover, the COVID-19 outbreak has boosted demand for sanitizers like never before across the diverse end-user segments.