Sanitizers 'cleaning up'

AKRON, Ohio — With the successful launch of Purell Advanced hand sanitizer last year, Purell Consumer has helped bring some excitement back to the category.

Sales of Purell's core brand were up 28% to $31.1 million across total U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended March 24, according to IRi, with Purell Advanced adding more than $10.3 million.

"[The] new formulation, TV support and [free-standing inserts] are driving shoppers back to the category," said Tim Cleary, Purell Consumer sales VP. Impulse purchases of the small sizes packaged within a jelly wrap carrier, school and small office supply dispensers and large-size containers for communal replacement are driving that conversion, he said.

Overall, sales of hand sanitizers totaled $185.7 million, up 8.3%. And while this past robust cold-and-flu season certainly helped drive those sales, it's not the whole story. Sales of Purell reach significant seasonal spikes during the back-to-school period.

Purell Advanced also holds a point of differentiation over other brands — last year the company released results of a series of independent lab studies testing the ability of instant hand sanitizers to meet Food and Drug Administration Healthcare Personnel Handwash germ-kill requirements at various dosage levels. Purell Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer formulations contain a patent-pending blend of ingredients that maximize the impact of alcohol on bacteria while maintaining skin moisture for optimal skin health, Cleary said.

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