The U.K. is the European country most affected by the Swine Flu virus. Media coverage in the U.K. has been extensive and subsequent consumer reaction is benefiting sales of related products. Notably, sales of digital thermometers have grown by 57% year on year as people are encouraged to stay at home and “self diagnose” to avoid the spread of the virus. As the Guardian recently reported, many shops have sold out of items such as thermometers. Basic hygiene is being promoted by the government and businesses as one of the best methods of prevention and consequently sales of antiseptic wipes and liquid soaps have also rocketed 45% and 18% respectively.
The trend is likely to continue well into autumn – the traditional time of year for flu to take hold, and fears are being voiced that the virus could put additional pressure on the UK economy with GDP being adversely affected by as much as 7%.