Cleaning up on household and clothes care NPD keeps consumers’ interest fresh but big names lead the way

In the days when the weekly ‘big shop’ was the norm for families with children at home, supermarkets led the way in household and laundry sales. Convenience stores’ focus for this category used to be confined to older adults, smaller households and distress shopping.

Now as society changes, with more women working and consumers making more frequent shops from outlets on their doorstep, big packs of detergent and so on still hold sway but convenience format stores’ share of sales is growing. As an indication, AC Nielsen values the clothes care market at £119.3m in convenience and growing by 6.1%, outpacing the total market.

Consumer interest in the household and laundry market is kept up by NPD, but long established brands are the category captains. Zoflora is the UK’s number 1 disinfectant, established for almost 100 years. Multi-use, multi room, it is safe to use around most pets, and eliminates odours for up to 24 hours. The brand has seen substantial category gains over the last 12 months, says Vicky Motley, Senior Brand Manager for Zoflora at Thornton and Ross:

“We are thrilled with our recent growth, affording us a 45% market share by value, and 44% by volume. Over the past year we have benefited enormously from the combined success of the limited edition NPD fragrance launches. Our integrated marketing campaigns centred around major consumer events such as Crufts, Great Yorkshire Show and Ideal Home Show Christmas, and the highly impactful digital influencer and traditional media programmes. This investment has paid off, and Zoflora is now spearheading the impressive category expansion.”

Containing patented malodour technology, Zoflora’s range of Fresh Home Odour Remover and Disinfectant have been tested against pet-specific odours. Zoflora’s has extended its range with their new fragrance, Green Valley. Green Valley brings a fresh and delicate floral fragrance to homes, with elements of crisp green leaves and a clean ozonic note, combined with a bouquet of wild flowers.

Also new from Zoflora this spring, the new uplifting limited edition scent, Hello Spring! is a concentrated disinfectant, boasting a 3 in 1 action that kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, helping to protect the household from harmful germs, while also eliminating odours to bring homes out of the depths of winter and leave them fragrantly fresh all day.

In the laundry category Matthew Trembath, Channel Category Manager at Unilever says powder detergent is the biggest section of the convenience market but ‘wet’ formats – i.e. liquids, gel and capsules – are driving the growth in ‘main wash.’ 94% of households buy detergent and stain removers products and 71% buy fabric conditioner.

In a fragrance first for the laundry category, Surf, the UK’s number one fragrance detergent brand from Unilever, is adding a coconut scented variant to its portfolio. Surf Coconut Bliss is a nature inspired fragrance with notes of Coconut, Vanilla, Amber and Musk. Available in powder, liquid and capsules, the new variant taps into the ongoing trend for coconut fragrances in the personal care market, which is now apparent in laundry too as more shoppers seek out refreshing scents that remind them of summer. This latest addition follows the success of Surf’s Caribbean Crush variant, launched in 2018.

Unilever’s new clothing care brand, Day2, is creating a whole new category in laundry, based on the insight that 40% of clothes in the washing machine are not actually dirty. These are clothes which often start on the ‘chairdrobe’ or the ‘floordrobe’ – that halfway-house in the bedroom for not-quite dirty clothes – which nearly half of us admit to having. Day2 is the solution to this daily challenge – ultimately a dry shampoo for your clothes, allowing users to refresh their garments and help get more wear inbetween washes. For retailers, Day2 is the gift that keeps on giving as there is relatively low cannibalisation – it’s an add on and not a replacement, therefore helping to increase basket spend.

To meet the rising demand from consumers who are actively seeking products that have a reduced impact on the environment, Unilever has launched Seventh Generation, a range of laundry and household cleaning products designed to be tough on dirt but gentle on the environment. Made with plantderived ingredients, Seventh Generation is synthetic fragrance-free and bottled using 100% recycled and recyclable materials. The number 1 eco-friendly brand in the US, Seventh Generation reflects Unilever’s commitment in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to ensure all its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The UK’s number one fabric cleaning brand, Persil, is relaunching its 3-in-1 capsules with new and improved packaging and formula. The activity will be supported with an overall marketing spend of £6million including TV, OOH, digital, PR, in-store and brand partnerships.

With capsules driving the category and demand for more convenient formats increasing, the revamped Persil 3 in 1 offering is designed to help retailers capitalise on this growing opportunity. Its new and improved fragrance technology embeds fresh scents into fabrics, releasing it gradually to provide consumers with a longer-lasting effect. The brand is also bringing its famous ‘dirt is good’ proposition to life through a series of partnerships with parkrun and the England Rugby Team, as well as supporting Outdoor Classroom Day.

Shirley Peet is Marketing Manager for Robinson Young, the UK’s sole distributor of ACE. Responding to the ongoing trend of consumers seeking smaller packaging and less plastic use, leading stain removal brand ACE has revealed a brand-new 550 ml bottle size for its best-selling product ACE for Colours. The resized bottle has been designed to modernise the liquid laundry category and drive down unnecessary plastic use for bulk purchases. The product will be easier to use, lighter to ship and take up less shelf space.

Shirley Peet explains: “It’s imperative we seek ways to lessen our impact on the planet, which is why we have reinvented the packaging for our bestselling product, ACE for Colours. The smaller bottle is effective, compact and recyclable. It also supports many of our current stockists who are limited to shelf space with the 700ml bottle and will encourage more sales with noncustomers willing to trial the product.”

ACE stain remover has been established in the UK market for a number of years and has good distribution across the country’s major supermarkets. It is the market leader in Italy, where it was first launched over 50 years ago and is also distributed across Europe in France, Spain, Germany, Greece and Belgium.

Nicola Coronado, Marketing Director at Essity, says Plenty, the UK’s No. 1 household towel brand, is undertaking the largest product launch in its history, with new Plenty Handy Towels. The launch drives value to the household towel category by encouraging consumers to extend usage outside the kitchen and drive shoppers to make an incremental purchase. Plenty Handy Towels offer the same great performance as the rest of the Plenty range, but in a convenient and hygienic flow-wrap pack, designed to fit in any room in the house.

“Plenty consistently outperforms other household towel brands in both wet strength and absorbency. Spills and messes can happen anywhere in the house, so we wanted to provide consumers with the same great performance they expect from Plenty, but in a convenient pack that can fit in any room.”

Plenty is also running an on-pack promotion, offering millions of guaranteed rewards such as a free 3 months Kids Pass, discounts on recipes boxes from Hello Fresh, kid’s tablets and the chance to win a trip to Florida. Partners offering discounts on experiences and services include Hello Fresh, Forest Holidays, Kids Pass, Rakuten TV and Green Thumb Lawn Treatment and there are thousands of physical rewards to claim, such as VR headsets, kid’s tablets, Bluetooth sound bars, TV streaming devices, mini trampolines, paddling pools, baking equipment and more. Shoppers are guaranteed a reward when they purchase a Plenty rewards promotional pack.

CATEGORY COMMENT

Gemma Cleland, Vice President for Homecare at Unilever UK “Sustainability is one of the hottest trends in laundry and household care and we anticipate this trend will continue throughout 2019 as consumers become more conscious about the effect the products they choose, and their actions are having on the world around us.

“Another trend is that people are spending more time at home than before, and taking more interest in household cleaning. Performance is still key and our insights tell us this is something consumers will not compromise on. On the surface cleaning front, brands with a good reputation are more important than ever, as consumers increase their cleaning repertoire and look for surfacespecific products rather than allpurpose cleaners.

“With the increase in premium quality surfaces such as wood, marble and granite, consumers are looking for products that will take care of these finishes rather than simply using an allrounder. “In the laundry category brands remain integral, as shoppers continue to seek out brands they know and trust to ‘get the job done’. Innovation continues to drive this category.

“The fabric solutions market is fairly flat. Consumers are bulk buying larger formats so they don’t have to repeat purchase so often. This is affecting powders and liquids, but we’ve seen significant growth in capsules as consumers look to move to more convenient formats. People’s increasingly busy lives are driving this desire to switch to a more convenient format.”

Gemma Cleland says Unilever continue to see significant growth from their brands with purpose:

“Our research tells us 91% of consumers would switch to an alternative purpose-led brand if given the choice. We aim to give consumers a reason to purchase our products over and above own label, from both an emotional and practical point of view. Domestos for example has been doing this for a number of years, helping people in developing countries gain access to cleaner, safer toilets. It’s not just a problem affecting developing countries – it’s also an issue in the UK, which is why we have turned our attention to closer to home with our latest Use Our Loos campaign. This initiative aims to tackle the demise of public loos and encourages businesses across Britain to let people use their lavatories. It has been a huge success, with over half of consumers saying it made them feel more positive about the brand.”

Fabric conditioners are big large part of Unilever’s laundry business. Over 51% of the range is now in concentrate form, as more shoppers are drawn to fabric conditioners which offer fragrance delivery in ultra-concentrated formats:

“These require less than half a regular dose of other products, meaning we can fit more washes into smaller bottles, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve seen exponential growth in our Comfort Ultra Concentrated products and will continue to invest and develop in this space, to grow the category further.

“Comfort is bucking the trend, as the overall fabric enhancer market is in decline due to people not understanding the clear benefits of these products or why they should buy them in addition to their current laundry repertoire. Our main focus for 2019 will be to educate people on the fact that fabric enhancers can make clothes smoother, easier to iron, softer and fresher for longer.”