Cleaned out

More U.S. shoppers are hunting online for cleaning and disinfectant supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic — especially dishwashing soap. Liquid soap, baby wipes, bleach and hand dishwashing soap became harder and more expensive to find online over the last two weeks of March as shoppers increasingly tried to avoid going to the store, according to Euromonitor International. Between March 15-31, dishwashing soap had the highest out-of-stock rate — about 20% — among a basket of household cleaning supplies tracked by Euromonitor International across 60 e-commerce platforms. Euromonitor said shoppers apparently saw dishwashing soap as a popular choice for general cleaning and an
alternative to liquid hand soap, which also was in short supply. Dishwashing soap also saw the biggest price fluctuation, a more than 200% difference between the minimum and maximum price. Much of that fluctuation was owed to a one-day price drop in the middle of the period, when larger sized and more expensive containers disappeared. Overall, the price of dishwashing soap increased about 8% during the 17-day period. Euromonitor, however, said strict policies against gouging helped mitigate price fluctuations for essentials in the U.S. compared to some other countries. The research firm pointed to Amazon’s suspension of 3,900 third-party merchants on March 24 for violating fair pricing policies.