Hand sanitiser selling for 5,000 per cent of RRP online as shops sell out

7 March 2020, 19:55 | Updated: 7 March 2020, 19:56

Empty shelves where hand sanitiser is usually stocked in an Asda store in Clapham Junction, London
Empty shelves where hand sanitiser is usually stocked in an Asda store in Clapham Junction, London. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Hand sanitiser products have been selling for more than 5,000 per cent of their recommended retail price online, with bottles worth 49p selling for £24.99.

The anti-bacterial soap has sold out across the country, as shoppers have flocked to get their hands on a bottle.

One eBay listing has seen a second-hand bottle of liquid soap sell for more than £5 - despite being only three-quarters full.

The listing for the Lacura hand soap, which had a starting price of 99p, has had 13 bids, with the top bidder currently paying £4.20, plus £1.09 postage.

Other listings have seen a pack of two Carex Aloe Vera Hand Gel Antibacterial Sanitiser (50ml) listed for £25.

Wilko hand sanitiser is selling for £14.99 for a pair with an RRP of 50p
Wilko hand sanitiser is selling for £14.99 for a pair with an RRP of 50p. Picture: eBay

That particular seller has already sold 14 multipacks of the gel for £10 per pair.

Liberty Marketing analysed the UK's biggest supermarkets and health stores to see how much more own brand hand sanitisers are being sold for on eBay compared to in-store.

They found Morrison's £2 hand sanitiser is being sold for £29.99 - a 1,400 per cent increase.

Other supermarkets included in the research include Asda with a 2,629 per cent increase and Morrisons with a 1,400 per cent increase, while Sainsbury's did not sell its own brand.

Those listing Tesco's own hand sanitisers are still making a 1,100 per cent profit, despite it being the lowest percentage increase out of them all.

People queue outside a Boots pharmacy store in west London where stocks of hand sanitiser are limited to two per person
People queue outside a Boots pharmacy store in west London where stocks of hand sanitiser are limited to two per person. Picture: PA

The Tesco Health Antibacterial Hand Gel (50ml) is just 75p in-store and is being sold for as much as £9 on eBay.

While undertaking the research, Liberty Marketing found every health and beauty retailer, bar Superdrug, has sold out of hand sanitiser.

HR manager at Liberty Marketing Emily Webb said: "We, as a business, have been supplying extra anti-bacterial gels and tissues to all members of staff and ordering more than our standard batch, so it is no surprise that eBay sellers are seizing this opportunity to make some more money.

"Every business and individual should be taking extra measures to tackle personal hygiene and prevention of illnesses in the office and elsewhere."

The competition watchdog has warned retailers and traders they must not try and "take advantage of people" concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus.

Officials at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said they would take strict action, and anyone trying to inflate prices could be fined under competition laws.

Hand sanitising gel is being stolen by visitors to Northampton General hospital on a daily basis as demand for the product grows amid the spread of coronavirus.

Hospital bosses said three wall-mounted dispensers have been ripped off, while visitors have used the hospital's supply of sanitiser to "top up" their own bottles.

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