Sales of air fresheners and cleaning products are soaring as workers focus on improving their new home offices, according to global consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser (RB).
But social distancing has reduced sales of condoms and sexual health products, with bosses suggesting this could have a knock-on effect on its baby formula business next year with an expected fall in the global birth rate.
Disinfectants remain in high demand and RB said its Dettol and Lysol products are winning new business, entering 19 new countries since February.
The company, which owns brands including Airwick, Veet, Durex and Strepsils, said sales in the three months to the end of September jumped 6.9 per cent to £3.51 billion (€3.9 billion) – or 13.3 per cent when currency fluctuations are removed.
Its hygiene division rose 12.4 per cent to £1.49 billion, health was up 6.9 per cent to £1.22 billion and nutrition fell 1.8 per cent to £806 million.
In the first nine months of the year sales are now up 9.4 per cent to £10.4 billion.
The company said: “The pandemic has heightened the societal importance of hygiene, seen increasingly as the foundation for health.
“Demand for our category-leading disinfectant products has been exceptional in recent months, with increased penetration and new consumers demonstrating a preference for trusted heritage brands driving growth.
“As a result, we expect structurally higher levels of demand to persist longer term as new consumer cleaning and sanitation habits become engrained.”
It added: “In addition, as consumers have sought to embrace self-care for themselves and their families, we have seen growth in preventative treatments, such as vitamins, minerals and supplements (‘VMS’).
“‘Stay at home’ dynamics and social distancing have had significant effects on some of our brands. For example, Finish and Air Wick have benefited from consumers spending more time at home.”