Increased demand in P&G’s home market more than offset steep declines in China, its second-largest market, where closed factories, roads and stores stymied production and kept consumers from buying.
P&G is the first big maker of household staples to report financial results for 2020’s first quarter, when the pandemic ravaged China and spread in earnest through the U.S.
P&G said organic sales, a measure that excludes currency moves and deals, rose 6% for the quarter. Sales rose 10% in the U.S. and fell 8% in China, a far less severe decline than the company said it expected.
Shoppers’ rush to stock up drove much of the increase, the company said. But P&G executives say they believe increased consumption of products like laundry detergent, dishwashing soap and cold medicine will persist after the pandemic passes.
“Consumption of our products is not likely to dissipate,” said Jon Moeller, P&G’s chief financial officer. “We will serve what will likely become a forever altered health, hygiene and cleaning focus for consumers.”
The results “are a direct reflection of the integral role our products play in meeting the daily health, hygiene and cleaning needs of consumers around the world,” CEO David Taylor said.