Hand sanitiser price skyrockets online as stores start to go out of stock

Screengrab taken on 5 March 2020 shows Lidl’s own brand hand sanitisers, Cien Antibacterial Hand Gel, which has an RRP of 49p, listed for for £29.99 on eBay.

As coronavirus continues to spread, own brand hand sanitisers from leading supermarkets and health stores are being sold online at prices much higher than their original price, an analysis shows.

Online marketing agency Liberty Marketing said Lidl’s own brand hand sanitisers, Cien Antibacterial Hand Gel (50ml), are selling for £29.99 on eBay, a 6000% increase in comparison to the RRP of 49p.

The research by the agency shows even the lowest percentage increase amongst the studied products fetches 1100% profit, with Tesco Health Antibacterial Hand Gel (50ml), which is is just 75p in store, being listed for £9 on eBay.

RetailerRRPeBay price% increase

Source: Liberty Marketing. Asian Trader can not independently verify all the eBay prices.

Liberty Marketing said they have found hand sanitisers are out of stock at all stores except for Superdrug during their research.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it has been monitoring reports of changes to sales and pricing practices during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the agency asked both retailer and individuals to “not exploit the current situation to take advantage of people.”

Hand gel and hand wash products are out of stock at Tesco’s online store. Screengrab taken on 6 March 2020.

“We urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices. We also remind members of the public that these obligations may apply to them too if they resell goods, for example on online marketplaces,” Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, said.

CMA said it will take direct enforcement action on evidences of excessive prices or misleading claims about the efficacy of protective equipment emerges.

“We will do whatever we can to act against rip-offs and misleading claims, using any or all of our tools; and where we can’t act, we’ll advise government on further steps they could take, if necessary,” said Lord Tyrie, CMA chairman.

Earlier this week, Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, told Reuters that retailers were taking necessary steps to meet the rise in demand for hygiene products.

Britain recorded its first coronavirus death on Thursday. The country has so far registered 115 cases of the pathgogen known as COVID-19.