5 Wicked Facts About FMCG Categories That Bucked The Trend During Lockdown

by Harshit Bore

September 24, 2020 | 01 min read


That the pandemic pummelled global consumption is an understatement. It sent people indoors and made them fearful of interactions that were beyond the confines of their homes. Yet, the FMCG industry at large has managed to hold onto its sails. Despite the gloom of lockdowns and unavailability of SKUs, some categories did well. A few others haven’t yet climbed out of the fall from the early days of the lockdown. 

In the last newsletter of September, here are 5 categories, we noticed from our data, that bucked the trend in the last 3-6 months.

Condoms – the great equaliser

The sales of condoms in the early days of the lockdown might make you wonder at the contraception used by the ancients (they didn’t if you discount herbs and potions, we are told). You know, like these times, the ancients mostly stayed at home and had fewer avenues for entertainment. Nevertheless, we are also told that Feb-March will replace July-August as the peak month for new births for the year 2021.

Of course, 13 years from now, a new species of teens called the Quaran-teens would arise. Brr!

Just so that you’ll get a sense of the sales volumes, we compared the sales of condoms to their peers in the personal care category – soaps, shaving and oral care.

Pickles & spices – it’s a spicy affair

Someone joked about the number of celebrity pregnancy announcements earlier this month and their impact on pickle sales. Not that we like to perpetuate any stereotypes, but we are wondering if there’s a grain of truth to that comment. Come on, in scores of movies through the 60s and 80s, Bollywood had one formula to announce a pregnancy – a heroine rushing to puke before coyly asking her husband to buy a sour pickle. 😖

In the last few months of the real world, brands have capitalised on the demand of consumers who want to recreate their favourite restaurant meals and launched special masala mixes. The trend is likely to continue until people are more comfortable heading outside.

Hair in hairy times

Bad puns aside, hair – a fuzz or a frizz, and its care is an industry by itself. Since it’s still not entirely safe to visit salons, consumers are caring for their hair themselves. Daughters are giving their dads a haircut, wives are colouring their husbands’ hair, and masques are providing deep conditioning to all. It’s no wonder that the sales of hair care products picked up almost immediately and had a quicker growth than its counterparts in personal care.

Mops, brooms & wipes – sweeping away the gloom

In times of pandemic, the need for hygiene and cleanliness only increases. Also, consumers are relying less on maids and are sweeping and mopping their homes themselves. The category grew by 20% in the YTD (2020) against last year’s (2019) YTD.

Lipstick Index

According to Wikipedia, “The lipstick index is a term coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder, used to describe increased sales of cosmetics during the early 2000s recession.” But in times of pandemic when women are staying at home or wearing masks in public, it’s time for “above the mask” beauty. Lipstick sales have dropped and haven’t remained resilient as they have in earlier recessions. Even Kantar has reported a 204% increase in sales of eye makeup globally.

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