Consumer perspective: Hand sanitizers and consumer psychology


HCD Research, Flemington, USA


As cleaning, safety and wellness product purchasing became a priority due to COVID-related worries, so did the psychology driving consumer behaviors. Hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and sprays became our constant companions, providing a sense of psychological security and control during the pandemic. The pressing need to clean and have these types of products on hand waning anytime soon, but neither will the consumer’s need for trust and reason to believe in these products.

CPG advertisers and developers find themselves in a unique spot. Demand for CPG products is up, but there’s no guidebook for advertising or developing products during a pandemic. Must-have items in the category, such as hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, can sometimes still be hard to find, many consumers are trying new products and brands as well as changing their behaviors and engagement with these products.


To meet consumers where they are, brands need to sharpen their focus on understanding who their buyers are, what resonates with them, and where to reach them. Acting on these insights is the best way to improve advertising effectiveness and product success — in a pandemic or any other time.


At the beginning of the pandemic, HCD Research was approached by several of these types of companies interested in how best to shift their research to meet changing consumer needs amidst a pandemic. Our clients wanted to know:

  • What consumer perceptions changed? 
  • How did consumer behaviors change?