Concerns about the Zika virus are powering a steep increase in sales of mosquito repellent at retail and within the promotional products industry. A mosquito-borne illness that can cause fever, rash, joint pain and abnormal brain development in fetuses, Zika was a primary factor in driving a 23% revenue rise in the pest control industry – of which mosquito repellents are a part – during the four weeks ending Jan. 24.
Even more telling, sales of Spectrum Brands’ Cutter mosquito repellents skyrocketed 59% during a four-week span when compared to the same period the prior year. Plus, SC Johnson Off! repellent products are flying off the shelves, with sales up 47% during the same stretch.
The sales surge is on in the promotional sector too, with savvy suppliers and distributors teaming up to meet demand from end-buyers eager to ward off the Zika threat and promote their brands. “All the news outlets talking about the Zika virus is creating a want/need for Bug Bans – our mosquito-repelling wristband,” said Louie Massaro, vice president of sales at Cooler Graphics (asi/80345). “The requests started to intensify about the first week of February. Normally, we do not see our season begin until early April.”
The story was similar at Natural Trends (asi/73497), which has seen interest in the Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent it carries race skyward. “Demand for repellent already far exceeds anything previously seen this early in the year,” said Paul Christensen.
The president of Natural Trends, Christensen said the DEET-free Herbal Armor repellent has been proven, through independent testing, to provide 100% post-application protection for two hours and 85% protection for 3.5 hours against the specific type of mosquito that spreads Zika. He believes that fact will help further spur sales as the weather warms.
“We’re having end buyers of all kinds wanting the product,” said Christensen. “Many have outdoor events slated for effected areas. As the season progresses and the range of the virus spreads, we expect all types of companies will want to be handing out a trustworthy insect repellent.”
Massaro expressed similar sentiments, saying he expects demand for the Bug Ban to intensify from health care providers, day camps, childcare centers and more. “The Bug Ban,” he said, “works great for any outdoor activity.”