Recessionary consumers are buying a growing number of household products as top-up  purchases in small shops. Asian Trader finds out how to clean up in this vital market.
 
 
Expert advice from P&G
Availability is key
 
 
Availability is the primary concern in this category, so make sure shelves are kept full and clearly labelled.
 
Stocking the brand leaders in each sub-category helps shoppers easily identify the product they need.
 
The household cleaning category is complex, so merchandising products by room and task allows customers to more easily navigate the fixture.
 
 
 
The recession may be making consumers cautious with their spending, but some categories are doing quite well out of the economic hardship. 
 
Household cleaning is growing inconvenience due to more consumers turning away from big spending in supermarkets to smaller, more frequent spends in local stores.  
 
According to Mintel, at a total level shoppers are buying more products each time they visit a convenience outlet, a trend which is particularly being seen in the household sector.  
 
This growth in the household sector is driven by consumers buying more products.  
 
The average spend per trip when household is in the basket is £21.33, an increase of £1.90 vs a year ago, which means this sector is becoming more valuable to convenience stores.  
 
 
Market 
 
 
The household cleaning category is in growth and is currently worth £1.5 billion (IRI).  
 
One of the most diverse fixtures in-store, it includes six main subcategories which play a key role for top up and distress shopping missions: Dishcare (£433m), Aircare (£394m), Surface Care (£318m), Toilet Care (£202m), Bleach (£91m) and Polish (£65m). 
 
The variety in the household cleaning products section makes it a busy category with plenty of product innovation and marketing support.  
 
Hand and automatic dishwashing products, in addition to cleaners designed to protect domestic appliances and furniture, are classified under household cleaning.  
 
Washing up liquid accounts for the bulk of the category, since the majority of consumers in the UK do not own a dishwasher (Key Note). 
 
A number of household detergents and cleaners are considered everyday essentials by consumers in the UK, including washing up liquid and laundry detergent.  
 
This means that there is a persistent demand for such goods, even during times of economic uncertainty.  
 
However, due to the economic crisis, in the total market, saturation and competition have hindered both volume and value sales in the industry.  
 
But the convenience channel is reaping the benefit as consumers top-up on household cleaning as they go along. 
 
Also, manufacturers are constantly bringing through innovation and marketing campaigns to maintain dynamism in the market.  
 
According to Key Note, although brands continue to dominate the market, consumers are on the prowl for the best value and are willing to set aside brand loyalty for an equivalent product. 
 
The two primary concerns for consumers in the industry are good value and efficiency (Key Note). 
 
Consumers are leading increasingly fast-paced lifestyles and do not have the time or desire to spend hours cleaning. In response, manufacturers have been keen to facilitate their lives by introducing easy-to-use, hassle-free products that continue to clean after application.  
 
These give a fresh smell and clean-feel to homes. Multi-purpose cleaners are the star performer in the market as these save consumers both time and money.  
 
These perform more than one task in one go, in addition to cleaning various rooms and fixtures around the home. Their flexibility and encompassing nature means that they are cost-effective for consumers, saving them the task of buying products separately. 
 
In spite of tough market conditions and the economic crisis, Key Note predicts that the household cleaning market in the UK will continue growing over the next 3 years. It is expected to rise by 6.6 per cent by 2016. 
 
 
Trends 
 
 
While people would think women are the dominant buyers of the household sector, and they would be right, the gap between men and women is actually closing.  
 
Mintel research shows presently seven in ten women, compared to three in ten men, do most of the cleaning and purchasing of these products in their households.  
 
Only two years ago the figures were eight out of ten women and two in ten men, while over a decade ago it was nine in ten women and one in ten men.  
 
Therefore, retailers might want to give a little more attention to men when merchandising their household cleaning categories.  
 
Furthermore, a study done by Mintel shows that if retailers focus marketing on protecting prized possessions and prolonging their life, this would help encourage more purchasing of specialist cleaning products for the home by men.  
 
Currently, the average household category shopper visits their local convenience store 3.9 times a week and spends £9.72 per trip.  
 
The average c-store shopper only spends £5.63 per trip and visits 2.6 times per week, which is why range clarity, availability and good display are key to maximising this window of opportunity for both wholesalers and retailers.  
 
Of course, the amount of time spent on household chores is highly variable, influenced by pressures on time, household size and individual standards of cleanliness.  
 
According to Mintel's analysis of future trends, growth in the population, but more so the increase in the number of households, will mean more sales of a range of household care products, including those used for doing the laundry, dishwashing and a range of other cleaning tasks throughout the home. 
 
Making the home an inviting place for guests in terms of an atmosphere that looks and smells nice will help sales of household care products, as entertaining at home continues to be an important theme.  
 
Four in ten people always clean or tidy their home before guests arrive (Mintel), so retailers may want to push household products at the end of the working week, when perhaps families or friends are due to come over for the weekend.  
 
Four in ten people see cleaning the house as a good form of exercise, indicating the degree to which health and fitness has permeated the consumer consciousness.  
 
There is scope for brands and retailers to tap into this frame of mind, and to really mine the idea that cleaning is a good, and convenient, workout. 
 
Mintel suggests that promotions for new cleaning products need to be flexible enough to appeal to a wide range of households.  
 
The trial of a new cleaning product is most likely to be encouraged by money-saving offers, which account for five out of the top six factors that would encourage purchasing. 
 
 
Brand activity 
 
 
With market leading brands such as Fairy, P & G are a dominant force in the household cleaning category.  
 
According to the company, consumers consider availability to be the most important factor when it comes to c-store shopping.  
 
P & G say customers can be very brand loyal and will expect to find what they’re looking for as they come into the store, particularly when significant amounts are being invested in advertising household favourites such as Fairy, Flash and Febreze. 
 
Fairy implemented some significant formula upgrades and packaging changes within its portfolio this spring in a bid to tackle the varying requirements of household shoppers across the UK. 
 
Leading the charge was the introduction of much desired scented products into the auto dish wash market with the launch of Fairy Clean & Fresh Apple and Fairy Clean & Fresh Orange.  
 
These new SKUs offer reliable cleaning and a burst of freshness for the kitchen. The range features a bold look which strongly highlights the fresh scent benefit of the formulation. 
 
Fairy’s popular All-in-One tabs have also been given a makeover with a striking new packaging design and formula upgrade involving a new two-chamber system.  
 
In a shift that is set to expand the auto dish wash market to move away from the use of longer wash cycles, the new formula works in shorter cycles.  
 
Tim Rothwell, Assistant Brand Manager for Fairy, comments: “Retailers can get involved by creating some in-store theatre, taking advantage of the exciting new POS available and ensuring the new packs are well merchandised on the fixture.” 
 
The changes to the Fairy portfolio are being supported by a significant multimedia campaign including TV, digital, in-store, print and PR activity.  
 
Unilever, another heavyweight in the household cleaning category recently launched the first ever dishwasher tablets for its Persil brand.  
 
New Persil PowerPro is an innovative range of dishwasher tablets available now and will be supported with a £1 million marketing spend across the entire Persil dishwashing range in 2013. 
 
The new dishwasher tablets have been developed using the Persil formula and feature patented Hydro Brite action which allows the tablets to dissolve quickly, providing results, even on a quick wash.  
 
The re-sealable pouch format with vibrant design packaging has been designed to drive standout on shelf. 
 
Julie McCleave, Head of Licensing at Unilever UK, comments: “We expect the launch of Persil PowerPro to encourage loyal shoppers to cross over into the auto dish wash category, where they can benefit from the outstanding cleaning results of Persil.” 
 
Persil PowerPro follows the successful introduction of Persil Washing Up Liquid, which was launched under license with McBride in 2010. Persil Washing up Liquid is currently the number two washing up liquid with a 7 per cent value share of the category (IRI). 
 
In January, RB brand Cillit Bang entered the year sporting a strong new look for its Power Cleaner range with improved formulas that ‘work in seconds’.   
 
The new look range of power cleaners include improved formulations, and new look packaging design for stand-out shelf presence.   
 
Cillit Bang Power Cleaners are now even easier to find on shelf and even easier to understand the differences in the range.  
 
The range includes: Cillit Bang Power Cleaner Limescale & Shine, Cillit Bang Power Cleaner Grease & Sparkle and Cillit Bang Power Cleaner Bleach & Hygiene. 
 
A massive £5 million advertising campaign supported the change. The campaign saw the return of the star of the brand, Barry Scott, in a TV ad. 
 
Late last year, RB launched a brand new Harpic solution, Harpic White & Shine, a specialist loo cleaner that includes bleaching agents. 
 
With its baking soda and bleaching ingredients, the new SKU gives complete white and shine action for a clean loo that is germ free and smells good.    
 
The Harpic White & Shine range has a completely new range of fresh fragrances: as well as Original, White & Shine is available in Fresh Citrus and the innovative new Eucalyptus & Mint Variant.    
Harpic White & Shine provides the required strong bleach action without the strong bleach smell.   
 
Presented in eye-catching white livery Harpic White & Shine has real shopper impact on shelf and sits naturally between the specialist and bleach products.     
 
Within the household cleaning market is the household paper market, which has steadily grown for the past six years and is currently worth £343 million (IRI).  
 
The SCA owned Plenty brand continues to lead the market with 23.4 per cent value share (IRI), an increase of 9.1 per cent in the last 12 months.  
 
Plenty value sales have increased across both Plenty The Original One (50 sheets per roll) and Plenty The Fat One ranges (75 sheets per roll).  
 
This year, Plenty The Big One has been re-launched into a single roll format to strengthen its position within the category.  
 
The product still features extra-large sheets and contains the same amount of sheets as the former two roll format; however the single roll format allows convenient storage in and around the home, for usage occasions outside of the kitchen.  
 
In addition to this, the brand has continued product upgrades throughout the range. The new Dura Lock emboss pattern has been launched across the range (excluding Plenty Super Strong) and a new fabric offers improved visual appearance. 
 
The Easy brand, from Jeyes, is currently worth £24 million with a year on year growth of 1.4 per cent (Nielsen).   
 
The brand attracts consumers who are seeking an alternative to higher end cleaning products and are looking to save money on their household cleaning budgets. 
 
The majority of the Easy range retails at £1 and includes: laundry powders, fabric conditioners, washing up liquid, bleaches, cleaners, liquid laundry detergents and toilet cleaners.   
 
The Easy range includes bleach, toilet cleaners, all-purpose cleaners in a trigger format, laundry detergents (both bio and non-bio variants), fabric conditioners, wipes, washing up liquid, polish, basic air fresheners, drain cleaner, toilet blocks, toilet rims, stain removers, dishwasher tablets, liquid all-purpose cleaners and oven cleaners. 
 
The Easy range comes in a full range of pack sizes which work with limited shelf space.   
 
Jeyes recently launched the Easy Inspirations 75 wash powder box to meet the demand from consumers who prefer a more value for money larger pack. 
 
 

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