FMCG sales: Hand sanitisers zoom; food grows 10% as coronavirus breaks slowdown curse

Prachi Gupta
·2-min read

India's FMCG sector, which had been reeling under a prolonged slowdown for several back to back quarters, has witnessed some upward swing thanks to coronavirus. Hand sanitisers and food segment have reported sales growth as panic buying increased in the wake of coronavirus, according to a Nielsen report. "As COVID-19 sweeps the country, India’s FMCG market grew 8 percent in February 2020. This is against the 5-6 percent growth that the sector saw in the preceding three months," according to market research firm Nielsen. Food sector posted double-digit growth due to an increase in panic buying, the report added.

Hand sanitiser and other hygiene related product sales have zoomed too in the month of February and March as these are essential for protection against coronavirus. "Hand sanitisers saw value growth of 53 percent in February 2020 versus an average growth of 11 percent. Floor cleaners and toilet cleaners also saw significant growth in February 2020," the report said. In fact, due to the sudden surge of sanitisers in the country, the government has also recently given license to 45 sugar mills and distilleries for the manufacturing of sanitisers.

With the Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announcing a Janta Curfew which was followed by a 21 day lockdown, there is an increase in panic buying and hoarding. "We have seen stockpiling behaviour in the last few days and it is natural that there will be a supply chain constraint. Local authorities are working on streamlining availability of products," Sameer Shukla, West Market Leader, Nielsen Global Connect, South Asia, said in a statement.

As sales spurt is also witnessed in the e-commerce channel, e-tailers in India such as Flipkart and Amazon recently restricted their deliveries to only the essential commodities such as hygiene related products and food items. "Hand sanitisers, face masks, hand wash and toilet cleaners also saw a spike in average weekly orders. Salty snacks, soft drinks and biscuits too saw high orders online ... Branded pulses saw a 72 percent growth in the first two weeks of March against the same period in February 2020," the report said. Meanwhile, the cases of coronavirus have been on an upward trajectory with India reporting over 600 total cases.