Online Sales of Cleaning Supplies Skyrocket as Americans Fight to Keep the Coronavirus Out of Their Homes

Clean and disinfect.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says following those simple instructions is one of the most effective measures we can take to stop the spread of the coronavirus. And Americans are clearly heeding that advice. Despite the fact that supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores deemed essential remain open, consumers are filling their online shopping baskets with cleaning supplies.

As part of our ongoing analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on consumer and business activity, we analyzed email receipt data to determine the impact the global pandemic is having on online sales of cleaners and sanitizing products. That we found there has been an increase in sales probably doesn’t surprise you, but the size of the growth spike is head-turning.

In just the first two weeks of March (3/1-3/14), top cleaning supply brands like Clorox and Lysol grew online sales 204% from the year prior, similar to the broader cleaning supply market growth of 214%.

All top brands saw triple digit growth in the two-week period with Lysol growing +324% (vs. +26% in 4Q19) and Clorox growing 189% (vs. +20% in 4Q19). Despite the significant jump, market share remained stable. Clorox and Lysol claimed 34% and 24% of share respectively, which is similar to their market share in 2019.

Walmart and Target grew a combined +259% Y/Y and contributed 134% of the entire segment’s growth during this two week period. Cleaning supplies made up 13% of sales at Walmart compared to 7% for the entire month of January 2020, and 12% of Target’s sales vs. 5% in January (the report excludes Amazon, but their sales are included in other analysis).

Grocers, which grew total sales 98.5% Y/Y during the two-week period, have also experienced a significant spike in cleaning product sales: 369% Y/Y. HEB and Peapod contributed 13% and 6% to overall cleaning supplies growth, respectively. Other merchants saw a 223% increase in demand, led by Bath & Body Works (+226% Y/Y) and Grove Collaborative (+108%).

An important note: the selection of cleaning products is vast, so the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published a comprehensive list of specific products and brand names that are strong enough to kill the coronavirus. 

To view the full report and receive future issues of our series of Macro E-Commerce reports dedicated to the impacts of the coronavirus and COVID-19 on online shopping behavior, please contact us.

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