Cold Remedy Sales Decline as Virus Fears Increase Hygiene

2020 has definitely written its way into the history books, as it finally comes to an end, there has been an interesting market trend revealed in Japan that could be on the horizon for the UK.

Cold and flu medicine sales have declined significantly within Japan. With large percentages of the population wearing facemasks, increasing availability of personal protective equipment and the more frequent use of hand sanitisers because of the COVID19 pandemic, Japan has managed to overt the regular colds and flu’s levels they’ve had in previous years.

The social trends indicate that the Japanese population were taking more precautions to keep themselves protected by washing their hands and increasing the usage of antibacterial and anti-viral products in their personal and professional environments.

The graph demonstrates a sales decline throughout 2020, it notes key points such as Japan’s lockdown periods and how that impacted sales.

April 2019 cold medicine sales were around half of that in 2020 due to the nationwide state of emergency in Japan. May 2020 looked as though there was a slight rebound in sales due to lockdown measures being lifted but August 2020 saw sales of only around 60-70% of the previous August. This has most likely been due to their increased hygiene practices reducing the spread of other bacterial infections and flu viruses.

What about the UK?

The Guardian revealed that the price of over-the-counter cold medicines actually increased by 11% due to the demand during the initial coronavirus outbreak. Paracetamol was among one of the products to rise in price within the UK but this could have been due to the panic-buying trend we experienced in March and then again in late October.

Once the virus is under control and it’s hygiene legacy left behind, it will be interesting to see how much our increased hygiene procedures have on the populations general health: It could be that the common cold becomes less common and catching regular flu becomes increasingly rare.






credit: Asahi Shimbun)




This article was written by the Safe2Stay® research team. We are continually looking at market trends around cleaning and sanitisation procedures, if you have any comments or suggestions for us, please email

The Safe2Stay® range offers protection and reassurance in a range of environments. learn more at

If you have an enquiry about purchasing the Safe2Stay® range in higher quantities than on our website, please contact us on or call 02037409420.

Safe2Stay 2020 © All rights reserved – Meets BS EN 1276 & BS EN 1650 and BS EN 14476


5% off

Be the first to know about our exclusive offers and special promotions.