Home / Industry / Retail /  Immunity boosters, hygiene products see demand slump
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NEW DELHI : Demand for covid-related wellness products such as immunity boosters, disinfectants, and sanitizers has dropped sharply from a year ago as the pandemic’s severity eased this year.

Dabur India Ltd said sales of its products linked to covid saw a steep decline in the June quarter. ITC Ltd, too, saw a dip in wellness and hygiene products such as sanitizers during the quarter. However, in its quarterly earnings call last month, Hindustan Unilever Ltd spoke of moderation in demand for hand hygiene products on a relatively high base in the June quarter last year.

“In this quarter, there was a significant difference between the growth of the covid-contextual immunity-led portfolio, which got a boost in Q1 of the last two years and the non-covid contextual business. While the covid contextual immunity-linked portfolio is seeing a decline on an exceptionally high base, the non-contextual portfolio registered strong growth," Mohit Malhotra, chief executive of Dabur India, said in a post-earnings call with analysts last week.

The company launched a slew of products in the aftermath of the pandemic, such as Dabur sanitizer, Dabur veggie wash, Dazzl surface cleaner, Dabur Sanitize disinfectant spray, and Dabur Tulsi Drops. It also expanded its existing honey and Chyawanprash range.

The company’s healthcare portfolio declined 20% on a high base, and the decline was more pronounced in the health supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) portfolio, the company said. Health supplements declined 36% in the June quarter on account of the high bases of the previous two years. The company’s OTC and ethical portfolio comprising new categories such as Dabur health drops, health juices and other immunity products too, declined by 15.4%. Malhotra said products like samshamani vati (an ayurvedic formulation for fevers) and others reported a 60-70% drop in demand as these were “very" contextual in nature and extremely covid-driven.

In the hygiene category, too, Dabur had introduced a clutch of products, “for which the turnover has almost become zero—like sanitizers has gone from 100 crore to almost zero. Our healthcare products under the brand franchise Sanitize…has also reduced to around 2 crore- 3 crore…so we have cut the tail, and we are not pursuing to reposition those," Malhotra said. But the company’s honey and Chyawanprash extensions are doing well, he added.

Companies rolled out various wellness, immunity and hygiene products such as teas, herbal concoctions and sanitizers in the aftermath of the pandemic, which saw an uptick in sales as consumers stocked up on them. Earlier this month, researcher Kantar said that it has seen demand wane for immunity-focussed products. Fewer households reported seeking such immunity-boosting products in 2022 compared to a year-ago period. In 2022, 64.7% of urban households said immunity is important compared with 87.1% in 2021, Kantar said.

“Growth of immunity products stopped with the pandemic, while health continues to grow but at a much smaller pace, Kantar said.

Cigarettes-to-biscuit maker ITC reported “subdued" sales within the company’s hygiene portfolio in the June quarter, but sales remained above pre-pandemic levels, the company said.

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