Consumers maintain insatiable demand for disinfecting products

Clorox Co. is shipping out its disinfecting wipes as fast as the company can make them, but it’s not fast enough.

While the bleach maker planned to have inventories replenished at major retailers by this summer, unprecedented demand throughout the pandemic dashed any hope of that. To cope, Clorox has added 10 additional third-party manufacturers and is running its own facilities 24 hours a day.

“Nearly one million packages of Clorox wipes are being shipped to stores every day,” Naomi Greer, a company spokeswoman, said via email. “As soon as they’re on shelf, people scoop them up.”

Throughout a public health crisis that has led consumers to stock up on canned goods, snack foods and other household staples, perhaps no item has been as highly sought after as disinfectants. Clorox competitor Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC expects to churn out 35 million cans of Lysol spray a month in North America by the end of the year—more than triple the amount before the pandemic began.

Consumers’ insatiable demand for products to fight COVID-19 has forced big-box retailers like Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. to implement policies to limit the amount of wipes customers can buy per visit. To further curb stockpiling, they’ve halted online sales of the products, instead directing shoppers to purchase them in-store.

Target has seen “unprecedented demand” for cleaning supplies and says products are quickly selling out after they hit the shelves, according to an emailed statement. Similarly, Walmart is working with its supply chain department to meet demand as the company keeps a “close eye” on product availability, a spokesperson said in an email.

Clorox CEO Linda Rendle has said that maximizing the supply of wipes and other cleaning products seeing high demand is the company’s top priority. Among the company’s pivots to boost capacity, it has reduced product offerings to focus on those that can be made faster.

“While we continue to make progress expanding supply, we’re still not at a point where we can fully meet ongoing elevated demand,” Rendle said on a conference call earlier this month.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

One thought on “Consumers maintain insatiable demand for disinfecting products

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.