Thursday 2 April 2020 12:41 pm

Coronavirus: Online prices rise for medicines and stockpiled goods

The online prices of essential household products and long-life food increased as demand soared due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest data showed that online prices for high-demand products increased 1.1 per cent on average between the weeks ending 22 March and 29 March as consumers faced restrictions on visiting physical stores.

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According to the Office for National Statistics, cough and cold medication and paracetamol both went up in price online as shoppers stocked up on medicine to combat the symptoms of coronavirus at home. 

Long-life food products such as rice, tomato puree and tinned beans also increased in price in the week that the government ordered the public to stay home as much as possible. 

All major UK supermarkets were forced to implement restrictions on the number of high demand products each customer was able to buy after a surge in panic buying resulted in empty shelves and shortages. 

Amid concern that elderly and vulnerable shoppers, as well as key workers such as NHS staff, might miss out due to product shortages, grocers also introduced specific trading hours for those groups. 

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Brits made over 79 million extra trips to supermarkets in the four weeks leading up to the coronavirus lockdown, as people rushed to stock up on groceries ahead of restrictions being introduced, according to industry data.

The stockpiling drove a 20.5 per cent jump in supermarket sales up to 21 March, with customers spending an additional £1.9bn on groceries, data from Neilsen showed. 

Online price change of high demand products

ProductOnline price change (%)
Antibacterial surface wipes-2.8
Baby Food-2.6
Dried Pasta-1.3
Tinned Soup-1
Kitchen Rolls-0.9
Long-life Milk-0.9
Toilet Rolls0.1
Pasta Sauce0.2
Tinned Beans0.4
Vitamin C0.4
Spray Cleaning Products0.4
Tomato Puree0.5
Antibacterial Hand Wipes0.9
Pet Food3.1
Cough and Cold Medication10.7