Mar 5, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus panic fuels sales for health supplies and canned goods

hand sanitizer sold out
Demand for cleaning supplies in-store and online are up. Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Online sales for health supplies skyrocketed this past week, with masks and disinfectants seeing triple-digit increases as consumers prepare for their communities to be impacted by the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Despite the stock market's nervous reflection of economic uncertainty, companies for cleaning, toiletry products and nonperishable foods are faring well amid expectations of social distancing and school closures in the U.S.

What's happening: Revenue sales for common stockpile items have seen a big boost, according to data recorded by Bloomreach for Feb. 23–29:

  • Masks increased by 590%
  • Hand sanitizers by 420%
  • Clorox/Lysol wipes by 184%
  • Canned food by 183%
  • Disinfectants by 178%
  • Bottled/packaged water by 78%
  • Hand soap by 33%
  • Toilet paper and paper towels by 26%

Between the lines: Health officials have advised against regular consumers buying masks, which have seen the highest surge in sales, due to shortage fears for health care workers and sick people who really need them.

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