Financial results disclosed by Reckitt Benckiser, the owner of brands like Durex, Dettol, and Lemsip, give an insight into changing consumer habits as pandemic restrictions ease.
Sales of condoms have shot up since lockdown restrictions eased in the UK, according to the maker of Durex.
KY lubricants and Veet hair removal products have also enjoyed resurgent sales, according to British consumer goods titan Reckitt Benckiser, as customers ventured outside again after a year of lockdowns.
Reckitt’s financial results suffered in 2021 compared with 2020 due to the spike in sales of disinfectant products such as Dettol that accompanied the arrival of Covid-19.
Globally, the company said on Thursday that it had seen strong demand for intimate products in markets such as China and India, where Durex is now the second best-selling condom brand.
Cold and flu medicine such as Lemsip and Strepsils, however, actually saw sales grow in the latter half of 2021 compared to the previous year as more people mingled in bars and restaurants, catching colds in the process.
The company said that “very low incidences of cold and flu in 2020 and the spring of 2021” had hit sales of key medicines.
Reckitt said that it expected to see sales of its products grow in 2022, but would be forced to raise prices to offset the costs of more expensive raw materials.
Consumer brands are currently wrestling with the impacts of surging inflation: yesterday Heineken said it would be forced to increase the price of its beverages to account for higher costs, which could lead to people drinking less beer.
Reckitt echoed this, acknowledging in its financial results that expenses rose 11% in 2021 due to cost inflation. The company said it was trying to ease this pressure by increasing prices and cost-cutting.