Sanitizer availability during COVID-19 outbreak: 50% of those who wanted to buy hand sanitizers last week could not find them


  • • Of those who bought, 74% paid a higher price than one fixed by the Government
  • • Almost all ecommerce apps stocked out of hand sanitizers

March 31, 2020, New Delhi: Once consider a premium product, hand sanitizers have now become a necessity in the time of the Coronavirus outbreak and people are literally queuing up to get a small bottle of it. Health authorities are suggesting the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as a tool against COVID-19 and consumers have been following this advice religiously.

LocalCircles conducted a consumer survey on their experience of buying hand sanitizers in the last 7 days. The survey received more than 15,000 responses and brought out the issues that consumers are facing while trying to buy hand sanitizers.

The first question asked consumers how have their or their family’s experience been with buying a hand sanitizer last week. 50% said they were not able to buy at all due to no availability while 26% said they had to buy an unknown brand as reputed brands were out of stock. 8% said they were able to buy reputed sanitizers at a general retail store and 15% said they were able to buy reputed brand sanitizers at a chemist. Only 1% said they were able to buy a reputed brand’s sanitizer from an ecommerce app.

Sanitizer availability during COVID-19 Outbreak: 50% of those who wanted to buy a hand sanitizer last week couldn’t find them; Another 26% bought an unknown brand as reputed brands were stocked out

Sanitizer availability during COVID-19 Outbreak: 50% of those who wanted to buy a hand sanitizer last week couldn’t find them; Another 26% bought an unknown brand as reputed brands were stocked out

The government recently capped the maximum retail price of hand sanitizer at Rs 100 per 200ml bottle till June 30, 2020, by bringing in under the purview of the Essential Commodities Act. This move came a few days after consumers complained on social media that sellers on some ecommerce apps as well as at retail stores/chemist were selling hand sanitizers above MRP and in many cases the manufacturers were publishing inflated MRPs.

The second question asked consumers how has been their or their family’s experience with prices of sanitizer this week. 64% said they bought it at price higher than the Government mandated price via a general retail store or chemist while 26% said they bought it at the Government mandated price of Rs. 100 for 200 ml at a retail store or chemist. 10% said they bought it at the Government mandated price via an ecommerce app.

Sanitizer availability during COVID-19 Outbreak: 74% of those who bought a hand sanitizer last week bought it at a price higher than the Govt mandated price of INR 100 for 200 ml

Sanitizer availability during COVID-19 Outbreak: 74% of those who bought a hand sanitizer last week bought it at a price higher than the Govt mandated price of INR 100 for 200 ml

Hand sanitizer makers have seen up to 10-fold jump in demand since the Coronavirus outbreak. Hand sanitizer manufacturers like Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Unilever Limited, ITC, Godrej, Himalaya and Dabur, etc. have all announced price reductions on hand sanitizers. However, the survey clearly indicates that their stocks are not reaching consumers. And as a result, 74% of those who bought a sanitizer last week ended up buying at a price higher than the one mandated by the Government.

With the latest notification on March 29, the Ministry of Home Affairs has permitted transportation of hand sanitizers and other related items in addition to the essential food items. The hope is that this will help ease the situation and atleast get the ready stock in the hands of the consumers. For those, who are still marking MRPs higher than the one mandated or selling above MRP, a pan India enforcement will be needed to protect the consumer and set things right.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com

Akshay Gupta - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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