The decline in bleach was arrested by the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in France in 2020. Bleach was perceived to offer resistance to the virus, as an effective virucidal, provided users took precautions, not least in terms of dilution, to safeguard their health and safety.
The perception of bleach as a suitable and effective solution to sanitisation in the home was supported by the media attention surrounding usage and effectiveness in hospitals, retirement/care homes, schools and other institutions. Bleach is reported to have seen triple-digit sales spikes in the early weeks of the lockdown, although the pace of growth depended on the retail channel.
The production of bleach in France saw dynamic growth as manufacturers tried to keep pace with demand during and beyond the March-May lockdown. For example, the French company Etablissements Pintaud doubled the production of its Bec brand as disinfectants moved to centre stage, and to cope with the spike in household and institutional demand during COVID-19.
Bleach is projected to see a return to negative retail volume and value (at constant 2020 prices) growth through the forecast period. The renewed move away from bleach is not surprising due to the long-term decline in sales, especially among younger adults, who increasingly run their own homes.
The change in the perception of bleach due to the outbreak and development of the COVID-19 crisis is expected to retain some consumers and increase the potential to gain others. While bleach may not be the primary choice during the forecast period, some households are predicted to use it as an enhancer or complement to perceived safer, yet effective disinfectants.
Competition from more natural and perceived safer alternatives and products with only some bleach content will re-emerge as a strong threat to the category in the forecast period. Through the review period, many households preferred to pay more for such alternatives, as consumers continued to regard bleach as a very strong product that is potentially “dangerous” and harmful to human health.
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This report originates from Passport, our Bleach research and analysis database.
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