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Benjamin Franklin said the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Perhaps we should add another to the list: dirt. It’s not surprising, then, that we spend a significant amount of time trying to keep our homes and clothes clean and fresh. In a Nielsen online survey about home cleaning and laundry habits, more than one-fifth of U.S respondents (22 percent) say they clean every day, and 17 percent say they do laundry daily.
Consumers’ shopping habits are shaped by various forces, including cultural tradition, product availability, innovation and financial considerations. They’re also influenced by larger socioeconomic dynamics. For the home-care industry, several macro trends are worth noting.
Economic prosperity will be a growth engine for consumption, particularly when coupled with rising aspirations for products and services not previously available or affordable. With greater disposable incomes, consumers will likely trade up to premium cleaning and laundry products, and purchases of appliances considered by some to be affordable luxuries — for example, dishwashers and washing machines — will likely increase, creating greater demand for specialized products.
Women still do the majority of housework, even though the number of women working outside the home continues to grow. With more women balancing jobs, child rearing, household responsibilities and social activities, the need for efficient, convenient cleaning tools and supplies is greater than ever — and as disposable incomes rise, there will be more money to pay for the products that best meet their needs. Sharing the responsibilities with other members in the household is an important consideration for marketing efforts, too.
As divorce rates and the average age at marriage have risen over the past few decades, there has been growth in single-person households, particularly in developed markets. In the United States, Census Bureau data show that roughly 28 percent live in a single-person household. These households may desire package sizes that reflect their smaller size. Also, many of these single-person households are headed by men, who may desire different product attributes than women.
Bright lights, big cities.
The United Nations reports that the world is currently undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. For many consumers, urbanization will mean smaller storage spaces, which may increase demand for smaller package sizes, concentrates and multiuse/multifunction products. Urbanization may also increase the importance of lighter and easy-to-transport products, as few consumers will want to carry heavy packages through crowded city streets.
Life in the fast lane.
Today’s consumers are moving at hyper-speed, and the need for products that reduce the time spent on cleaning tasks is strong. Life isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon, so products that are easy to use, clean quickly and deliver superior results will remain in high demand.
Omnichannel is the new retail reality as many consumers use digital devices to aid and/or complete their shopping experience. To succeed in the new retail landscape, product marketers need to use a combination of online and offline strategies not only to help consumers make more informed decisions, but also to add value throughout the entire shopping experience — wherever and whenever that happens to be.
There’s an app for that.
The on-demand economy has arrived in many markets. Consumers can summon just about everything with their mobile device. Home-cleaning and laundry services are no exceptions, with everyone from entrepreneurs to major product manufacturers jumping in on the trend. While the on-demand segment is still in its nascent stages for the home-care industry, its popularity in other segments (such as transportation) will likely have far-reaching implications for shopping in general. Consumers are changing their expectations of the shopping experience, and they’re growing accustomed to getting want what they want, when they want it.
A clean sales sweep.
When it comes to store brands, there are tangible opportunities for retailers. The evolving consumer and retail landscape will continue to redefine new opportunities for cleaning products. It goes well beyond having a price benefit. Consumers value convenience, efficiency and unique cleaning formats that align with their changing household needs.