A pandemic of the magnitude of COVID-19 has made people realize the importance of personal hygiene. Things such as hand sanitizers, face masks, and surface disinfectants are now an essential part of our lives. Experts believe that personal hygiene habits such as using hand sanitizers would become as normal in 2021 as brushing teeth used to be in the past. Also, they are of the view that the improvement in the quality of hygiene will boost the overall economic and social growth of the country.
Personal hygiene literally means keeping the body clean. It is important to maintain good health and prevent infections. According to Padma Shri awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, personal hygiene is key to protection against highly infectious COVID-19.
“The infection spreads through droplets (saliva or respiratory secretions) released during coughing, sneezing, singing, or even speaking loudly. Being in close proximity to a person who has the infection increases the risk of these droplets being directly inhaled. This is the rationale of wearing a face mask and physical distancing of at least 3 feet. Also, the droplets may fall on nearby surfaces and objects such as handles, tables, phones etc. Infection can be acquired when these contaminated surfaces and objects are touched and subsequently touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Handwashing, therefore, is essential. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which enters through the nose and the mouth, replicates in the throat in the early stages of the disease. Gargling with an antiseptic such as povidone-iodine may reduce the viral load in the throat of the infected persons and prevent the spread of the virus in the community,” said Dr Aggarwal, President, Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO).
This awareness among the common man has lead to a drastic change in the personal hygiene market. According to Vikas Bagaria – Founder, Pee Safe – the hygiene market was growing at a rate of 11% for the months of November 2019 to January 2020 but the COVID-19 outbreak has led to a great surge in demand.
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“In fact, in the month of February 2020 itself, we saw a growth of 53% in the demand for hand sanitizers in the country. A similar spike is being seen in other hygiene products’ segments such as surface disinfectants, toilet seat sanitizer sprays, face masks etc,” he said.
Personal Hygiene Market In 2021 And Beyond
The impact of the pandemic is not as severe now as it was at the peak of the outbreak. However, we are still witnessing repeat waves and new strains of the virus being discovered which imply that the new normal will continue. As a part of this change, the consumption, as well as the demand for personal hygiene products, will keep rising even in 2021 and the years ahead.
“This market is set to grow past USD 25 billion by 2025 and the hand sanitizers segment is expected to stand at more than 2000 crore rupees by then which is much larger than the entire market as of now. From a company perspective, let’s say if we were selling our products at 1 on a 1-10 scale before the pandemic, we sold at 10 during the peak of the pandemic. Even when COVID-19 subsides, the sales are steadily going to be at about 5-6 in the years ahead,” Bagaria said.
Personal Hygiene Trends That Will Be The Highlight Of 2021
There are some personal hygiene trends that will dominate the year ahead, the biggest one being that face masks and sanitization practices will now become a part of the hygiene SOPs. Unlike the year gone by when they were induced by a pandemic, now people have begun inculcating these habits. Another key trend that will dominate 2021 will be the demand for sustainable products, especially in the feminine hygiene market.
The Pee Safe founder feels that there has been a lot of traction in the demand for female hygiene products and it is steadily growing for eco-friendly sanitary pads, menstrual cups, and toilet seat disinfectant sprays.
“The awareness is at an all-time high and the market is estimated to be worth over $500 million already. Now that the offices, schools, colleges, and other public spaces as well as public transport facilities have reopened in most parts of the country, the demand for portable disinfectant sprays and sanitizers will grow even faster. Women will look for products such as the toilet seat disinfectant sprays because they won’t like to come directly come into contact with unhygienic seats in public washrooms while traveling or at the office,” Bagaria said.
Market Prospects For Personal Hygiene Products
“The personal hygiene market is going to be valued at more than USD 15 billion by 2023 as per current projections. It is expected that hand sanitizers will alone make up for over 2000 crore rupees by 2025. To see such a permanent change in habits and the adoption of hygiene habits is very heartening. To cater to this emerging industry, a lot of investment is being made by the companies and investors and even when the chaos of COVID-19 will ebb with time, the changes in lifestyle and awareness about hygiene practices are going to only gain momentum. We must also not lose the sight of the fact that this is not the only or the last pandemic to affect our world. There are various other previously existing and contagious diseases that cause a number of fatalities every year. Hence, the need to constantly monitor high levels of sanitization and take personal hygiene measures is going to be felt in the future too. By adopting personal hygiene habits, India can save billions of workdays annually.”