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Will the Disinfectants boom last after the epidemic?



Will the Disinfectants boom last after the epidemic?

During the epidemic outbreak, Dr. Zhong Nanshan pointed out that COVID-19 was mainly spread through respiratory secretions and that it can be transmitted via sneezing, exchange of bodily fluids, as well as skin-to-skin contact; he urged the public to stay home, wear masks, and clean the house.  Now we see household cleaning categories such as disinfectant liquid and antiseptic wipes quickly running out of stock at many stores. But will this latest boom settle into consumer habit of using disinfectant and degerm products even after the epidemic?

Kantar Worldpanel believes the current epidemic will ride on the healthy and high-quality lifestyle trend and further influence consumers’ choice and behavior in the following three aspects: category expansion, product upgrade, and new usage occasion. In terms of category expansion, categories focusing on professional degerm and health such as antiseptic wipes and disinfectant liquid are most likely to be impacted. In terms of product upgrade, traditional degerm products will achieve multi-function upgrade by adding functions such as “natural”, “gentle” and “purifying”. In terms of new usage occasion, products designed for specific (as opposed to general) usage occasion will become popular, as consumers are leading a more sophisticated life.  

According to Kantar Worldpanel’s household panel, sales of household cleaning categories soared against the overall FMCG market trend under the double impact of CNY and epidemic outbreak. Such market change was attributed from both buyer and consumption increase, indicating a real demand surge; strongest of growth trend was seen in disinfectants, toilet cleanser, and air freshener.  While consumers generally tend to wait until their home inventory is depleted or stock up the basic necessities due to restricted mobility during the epidemic period, they see the need for and purchase more types of cleaners for different usage occasions.



Further encouraging news to this growth trend is that only 28% of Chinese households purchased disinfectant liquid in past 1 year, leaving much room for additional growth when benchmarking some European countries. In addition, latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that disinfectant penetration grows with economic development of household. Coupled with the continuing development of Chinese economy, this is an opportunity to raise public awareness on health and hygiene care; we believe that disinfection and degerm categories will continue to grow in the long run. In terms of brands, young families show preference for multi-functional and relatively more gentle disinfectant liquid products from Dettol over traditional 84 Disinfectant Liquid preferred by older families.  Manufacturers can more actively engage with young consumers through various online/ mobile platforms to educate them on the need for and benefit of using disinfectants in regular cleaning.



In addition to the disinfection category, degerm segment in the laundry detergent category is also performing well. Many products are taking on the degerm+? benefit positioning and actively communicating their differentiation/superiority in gentleness and functional efficacy. For example, LIBY Tea Seed Degerm series and OMO Natural Enzyme Degerm Anti-mite series claim "natural" + "degerm" benefits. These two variants have so far achieved high growth in the fiercely competitive laundry detergent market on the back of winning with families with kids.  Initially given a boost by the epidemic, degerm benefit is likely to continue on the growth path, especially with the increase in households with kids (both young and teens) resulted from the two-child policy implemented in 2015.


Disinfectants and other degerm products had not been perceived as necessities by Chinese consumers as evident by low category penetration until the beginning of the epidemic. Nonetheless, people are becoming more acutely aware of the benefit of hygiene and health care, and it is likely use of such products will become more routine, further fueling the growth of relevant categories.


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