Personal Hygiene and Travel Products Are in Demand

Consumers Swap Toilet Paper for Teeth Whitener

As Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines, some aspects of life are returning to normal. This is prompting consumers to spend more on personal hygiene products. Retailers like Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), and Macy’s (M) are seeing surging demand for deodorant, teeth whitener, nail polish, and apparel.

During the onset of the pandemic more than a year ago, consumers rushed to buy cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. Brands saw sales of these products double and even triple almost overnight. Meanwhile, the pandemic was causing supply chain issues which resulted in shortages. Though a rush is underway to buy grooming products at the moment, fortunately there is enough supply to meet consumers’ needs.

Demand for Luggage and Apparel Surges

Consumers’ habits are changing and so are their shopping lists. Walmart is seeing strong sales of teeth whitening products as states begin to lift mask mandates. The chain is also experiencing increased demand for alarm clocks as people return to work, and more demand for luggage as travel resumes. The retailer said that its luggage sales are up 400%.

Meanwhile, Macy’s and Target both posted strong sales for the first quarter driven by sales of apparel, travel products, and beauty/hygiene items. Target reported that apparel sales jumped 60% year-over-year in the quarter. Other hot items at Target include cosmetics, sun care items, activewear, and sporting goods.

Baked Goods’ Day in the Spotlight Waning

Meanwhile, sales of baking supplies, cleaning products, and paper and plastic goods have declined in recent weeks as people spend less time at home. Sales of paper and plastic products, which includes toilet paper, fell 18.3% in the four weeks leading up to May 1 compared with a year ago. Sales of baking supplies fell 35.6%.

With vaccinations widespread and pandemic restrictions easing, consumers are returning to their normal activities. As they reenter the world, people are spending billions of dollars on personal hygiene. It will be interesting to see how much this trend lifts the fortunes of consumer brands and US retailers supplying these products.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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