These are the hottest products in demand in SA stores - including hair dye and bleach

Business Insider SA
Sales of hair colour products have soared in SA supermarkets.
  • As South Africa's national lockdown continues into its seventh week, the big supermarket groups are seeing strong demand for a number of products.
  • Among them, dishwashing products, as more people are forced to make their own food and wash up afterwards.
  • Bleach has been in hot demand since before the lockdown - and sales of hair colouring kits have doubled at Pick n Pay.
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South Africa’s lockdown has led to some interesting retail trends - likespike in the sale of non-alcoholic beverages, and pineapples - but there have been several other products that are currently in hot demand across supermarkets.

Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets saw a “major spike” in the sale of bleach and other household cleaning products - which the group attributes to an increased interest in hygiene, and additionally more time to do some home spring cleaning.

“Products such as Albex, Jik, Domestos and Handy Andy selling exceptionally well,” a spokesperson for the company says.

This is a trend mirrored in Pick n Pay’s analysis of shopping trends in the build up to the lockdown. According to the group’s annual results presentation, released on Tuesday, bleach was one of the most commonly stockpiled items - the sales of which grew by 138%.

Sales volume growth in the period leading into lockdown. Source: Pick n Pay

Other household items and cleaning products weren’t far behind.

With more people cooking at home and eating in, Shoprite and Checkers says there’s been a “noticeable and sustained increase” in the sale of dishwashing liquid and tablets.

“Customers who own dishwashers tend to buy a pack of dishwashing tablets, along with a bottle of dishwashing liquid. This points to the dishwasher doing the majority of the washing, with the liquid for hand washing smaller odds and ends.”

The increased use of dishwashers has also seen a spike in sales of associated products, such as dishwashing salt and rinse aids, at these stores.

Some food items have also fared well at this time. Shoprite and Checkers say baking and cooking products, as well as braai aids, have been very popular. While Pick n Pay saw major spikes in the sale of white rice, frozen corn, and spaghetti in the lead up to lockdown, and a surge in frozen pizza purchases in the weeks that followed.

And as the reality sinks in that salons and hairdressers will remain closed for the foreseeable future, a clear winner across all stores has been home hair colouring kits and related beauty products.

Pick n Pay, which reported a 92% increase in hair colouring kits during lockdown, says "hair colour products have been very popular during lockdown and we’ve been well stocked in our stores. Customers seem to be experimenting with colour during lockdown as many are buying various hair colour and hair nourishing kits to use at home”.

Shoprite and Checkers report a similar trend.

“The sale of personal care products have soared at Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets in recent weeks, indicating that South Africans are not letting the lockdown stop them from looking after themselves,” a spokesperson says. 

Hair colour products have “gained significant popularity” at Shoprite and Checkers stores, and “there has been a sharp increase in demand for ethnic hair care, especially extensions, relaxers, conditioners and other treatments”.

The Shoprite group says that they have noted a trend of customers who would typically get these products elsewhere limiting the number of stores they visit, and instead aiming to purchase everything in a single shop, which may account for some of the sales increases.

“There could also be some evidence of the “lipstick effect”, where consumers tend to spend more on small indulgences during a time of economic stress. In cosmetics, nail polish purchases have increased dramatically while face creams, cleansers and skin refreshers dominate the skincare category.”

And men also seem to be keeping up appearances, even in lockdown - Shoprite and Checkers say shaving products, specifically men’s disposables, are also growing strongly at this time.

As lockdown has continued, shopping trends have shifted away from staples, and more towards comfort foods and other luxuries. 

Hobby style paint and paint brushes saw a 288% increase in demand at Pick n Pay during lockdown, for example.

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