Demand for stain remover surges social distancing lessens

A shrinking fear of COVID appears to be correlated with a rising need for spot solutions.

As the worst of the coronavirus pandemic looks to be in the rearview mirror for increasing swaths of the world, the global stain remover market is celebrating a possibly related surge in demand. While the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a run on cleaning supplies as panicked consumers tried to disinfect surfaces, the current uptick seems to be associated with consumers trying to clean themselves.

“Vanish returned to growth as the reduction in social restrictions increased the demand for the removal of clothes stains,” UK hygiene product company Reckitt told the BBC of its clothing stain remover Vanish’s sales during the first six months of 2021. The demand, Reckitt added, is directly linked to the reduction in social distancing across the world “as market conditions normalize.”

In addition to a surge in stain removers, Reckitt also saw sales for “intimate wellness” and personal care products, including the hair removal cream Veet, increase during the beginning of 2021.

stain remover supply
Demand has shifted from surface cleaners to personal hygiene products in recent months.
Alamy Stock Photo

Meanwhile, sales of disinfectants including Dettol and Lysol slowed.

Consumers, it would seem, are more concerned with looking presentable than with making sure their counters are disease-free.

Surfaces remain cleaner than they were pre-pandemic, however: In the second quarter of 2019, Dettol and Lysol accounted for 16% of Reckitt’s revenue. That number is now a quarter of revenue.

“We are seeing different consumer behaviors depending on vaccine rollout rates, government advice and new waves,” Reckitt said according to the BBC. “Nevertheless, both brands [Dettol and Lysol] are more relevant with consumers than pre-pandemic and are therefore structurally better positioned to grow into new places and new spaces in the future.”

The easing of lockdown restrictions has, in addition to making people care more about their appearance, also impacted how people are eating, and resultantly supermarket supply chains: Research firm Nielsen reported that recent weeks have seen fresh food purchases soar in conjunction with Brits socializing more and enjoying the summer weather, the BBC reported.