Hand Sanitiser Panic Buying Online for 5000% More than Recommended Retail Price

Rising concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in the UK have led to panic buying. With hand sanitiser sold out in stores, consumers are turning to online selling platforms like eBay instead – though they face prices up to 5000% higher than RRP.

Research has found that every store except a few Superdrugs in the UK have sold out of hand sanitisers. Taking advantage of this sell-out product, many eBay users are reselling Lidl own-brand hand sanitisers for £29.99, a 5000% increase in comparison to the RRP of 49p. Sellers also benefited from reselling other own brand hand sanitisers. Asda’s brand is being sold at a 2629% increase, Boots’ brand at a 1899% increase and Morrisons’ brand at a 1400% increase. 

Emily Webb, HR Manager at Liberty Marketing says:

“We, as a business, have been supplying extra anti-bacterial gels and tissues to all members of staff and ordering more than our standard batch, so it is no surprise that eBay sellers are seizing this opportunity to make some more money. Every business and individual should be taking extra measures to tackle personal hygiene and prevention of illnesses in the office and elsewhere.”

Although eBay sellers are benefitting from the growth in demand, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have warned UK retailers of the consequences in hiking up prices. If they choose to exploit the coronavirus fears and increase prices for products such as hand sanitisers, they will face prosecution.

This increase in demand correlates with the World Health Organisation’s advice to wash hands frequently. As a result, UK consumers have fallen into panic buying goods like hand sanitiser and other antibacterial products. In response to this increased demand, shops such as Boots have introduced a restriction on hand sanitiser sales to 2 per person.

Since the first known case of coronavirus in the UK on 31st January, the number of those tested positive as of 9am on 12 March 2020 was 590. The jump in cases has caused panic among buyers, a survey of 2,000 shoppers from Retail Economics found that 1 in 10 UK consumers are stockpiling in preparation for worsening conditions. 

In addition to hand sanitiser, Tesco have introduced a product ration on essential items such as tinned vegetables, dried pasta and UHT milk – preventing people from stockpiling. However, this shortage of products should only remain temporary once suppliers respond to the surge in demand.

Image: BBC News