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Brief Published: 16 Mar 2020

Covid-19 Sparks Hand Sanitiser Product Innovation

Sales of hand sanitiser have increased

Fear surrounding the spread of the coronavirus has driven global consumers to overwhelm the antibacterial hand gel and sanitiser market. As an example, in February 2020, UK sales of hand sanitiser saw a year-on-year increase of 255% (Kantar, 2020). Shrewd brands are responding quickly and supportively, pivoting production resources and developing new, improved product for wider consumer demands.

French perfume and cosmetics giant LVMH is now producing hydroalcoholic hand gel at three of its factories to service local public hospitals. The production of perfumes and make-up typical of the factories (which produce for Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy) has been halted as a result, due to an estimated 12 tonnes of sanitising product will be released within the next week at no cost to the French public authority.

"LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus," said chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault. The strategy could prove lucrative in future, garnering loyalists of premium protective product from a brand willing to step in and help out.

Cult British brand The InKey List is also responding quickly. It is currently working on an anti-viral (rather than antibacterial) hand cream with added moisturising benefits to counteract the drying effects of alcohol-based products. Co-founder Mark Curry estimates the product will be ready by summer this year.

London-based indie brand The Palm of Feronia is also catering to demand with a new-age wellness slant. It is producing a Peridot Hand Cleansing Spray featuring natural crystals peridot (the stone of healing, renewal and purification), aventurine (to promote compassion and empathy, while encouraging perseverance) and blue lace agate (the stone of hope, unity, harmony and peace). It is available to pre-order before March 20.