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Deodorant usage slumps amid COVID-19 pandemic

Gaelle Walker
19 March 2021

Covid-19 restrictions have accelerated the trend towards declining deodorant use, with application plummeting in the past year as locked-down Brits adopted a more relaxed approach to personal hygiene, new data from Mintel suggests.

Over a quarter (28%) of all deodorant and antiperspirant users have applied them less frequently since the start of the pandemic - with frequency of usage having fallen most sharply among those aged under 39.

Just under half (45%) of Gen Zs and 40% of Millennials are now using deodorant or antiperspirant less frequently, as the trend towards casualisation “extended from clothing to personal hygiene,” Mintel said.

The pandemic had “exacerbated the downward trajectory of the market,” with deodorant sales having plunged 7% in 2020 down to £369m, and sales forecast to fall a further 5% in 2021, it added.

Worry over the use of chemicals in deodorants was also deterring usage among women and overall, 35% of deodorant users were interested in buying deodorants formulated with natural ingredients, Mintel said.

Mintel personal care analyst Emilia Greenslade said: “Savvy shopping among Brits meant the deodorants market was already suffering even before the pandemic; however, lockdowns and social distancing exacerbated the value decline in 2020.

“The more relaxed approach towards personal grooming routines has been particularly noticeable among the young, which is likely a result of going out less.

“Consumers spending more time at home, and exercise routines split across the day, has also meant it is easier to jump in the shower to wash, as opposed to using a deodorant.

“The likelihood of working from home becoming mainstream, and continued reduced social occasions, together with tighter budgets, will impact the market further.

“Spending on deodorants will remain low due to discounting and special offers, as well as the wide availability of well-known brands at discount retailers.

While deodorant usage has plunged, soap sales have triumphed in the pandemic, doubling in 2020 to reach nearly £400m as the nation increased hand-washing.

Usage of hand sanitiser also rose 73% in 2020, up from just 41% in 2018.

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