For shoppers worried about a shortfall of tampons: It’s not as acute as it may seem anecdotally.
In mid-June, the share of menstrual-care products in stock across the U.S. was about 92.5%, a drop from a 95% level for tampons and 96.7% for pads in early January, according to data from market researcher IRI. The decline has sent some consumers scrambling for goods, but it doesn’t exactly amount to a national shortage — at least not to the extent seen with baby formula this year.
Still, product availability has been an issue in some areas. In-stock rates in states such as Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia were below 90% in the week ended June 12, right around the mark where consumers start noticing empty shelves and can have trouble finding their preferred products, according to IRI.
Manufacturers have said they’re seeking to replenish supply. A spokesperson at Procter & Gamble, which holds about 50% of the U.S. menstrual-care goods market, said last week the company was “working hard to ramp up production to meet the increased demand for our products.”
Edgewell, the company behind brands like Playtex and o.b., cited disruptions caused by surges of the COVID-19 omicron variant as the cause for diminished inventory. It said it was operating manufacturing facilities around the clock to build back output.
In-stock rates nationally have ticked up in recent weeks, IRI data show.
Manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand for a wide range of goods throughout the pandemic as they coped with raw material, labor, packaging and transportation challenges. An in-stock rate in the 90s is “pretty good” for any product category these days, said KK Davey, client engagement president at IRI. Some companies have rationalized their assortments since 2020, which could make it trickier to find a preferred brand or item.
Meanwhile, shoppers are already dealing with higher prices for period-care supplies. Average prices rose 8.3% for a package of menstrual pads and 9.8% for tampons in the year through May 28, according to NielsenIQ.
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