The £1.54 billion home laundry products market is characterised by strong innovation by the leading manufacturers and while value growth in detergents has been hard to achieve in 2013/14, this has not been down to a lack of new launch activity. By contrast, the leading brands in fabric conditioners have been successful at encouraging trading up to premium ranges to increase value sales and continue to capitalise on the strong interest among consumers in new and longer-lasting scents.
The smaller wash treatment segment of the market recovered some lost ground in the second half of 2013, but the biggest boost to sales here came from the creation of a new sub-category with the launch of Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser by Reckitt Benckiser. This new product generated incremental sales through focusing on the need to kill germs in wash loads run at low temperatures.
In terms of market drivers in the laundry market the trend is towards doing more laundry at low temperatures, with 38% of people now washing most of their clothes at 30 degrees or less and 47% of those doing the laundry agreeing that low-temperature washing achieves good wash results.
Some of the things people are interested in seeing from a new laundry appliance relate to features of home laundry products, such as energy efficiency, quick washing and drying, washing delicate fabrics and reducing allergens, but others such as steam cleaning, extra-large loads or automatic dosing could be a potential threat to the detergents market.
While most people currently separate whites and dark colours when doing their laundry, 27% of buyers would be interested in paying more for a detergent that eliminates this need, which would particularly benefit those doing less laundry.
Helping to prolong the life of fabrics is also important to people and a fabric softener that looks after fibres and protects colours could particularly appeal to parents.
Eliminating sweat odours from clothing is a sought-after benefit that a quarter of people are willing to pay more for, especially 16-34-year-olds, so detergents with this feature or separate odour eliminators would appeal to sports participants.
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