Amid today’s economic uncertainty, more people are spending more time at home. This has given a boost to entertaining at home and dining in.  Latest research shows that consumers are prompted to clean the house when guests are coming round, so this leisure-at-home trend is helping to drive demand for household cleaning products.

Few people set aside time to do all their household chores thoroughly. Instead, cleaning is done little and often, driving demand for cleaning products that help keep on top of cleaning chores, such as daily shower sprays. There are more than 13 million working women in the UK. This limits time they have for household chores, so even though tasks are shared around the family, there is a tendency to spend less time cleaning the home and do it in shorter bursts. This is driving demand for more effective products that help take the elbow grease out of cleaning tasks.

But even this buoyant household sector is not immune to people’s desire to economise. Mintel’s research finds that people are behaving in a thriftier way. They swap brands to take advantage of special deals and stock up the cupboards when products they use are on special offer. Also, multi-purpose cleaners have been growing share, as consumers find them more economical than buying specialised cleaners.

A mature market, with high levels of usage by UK households, the market for household products has continued to grow, despite the impact of the credit crunch and subsequent economic uncertainty, thanks to innovation in formulations and formats. Sales of household cleaning products are growing, rising 2.3% in 2009 to reach £581 million. By the end of 2010, spend is expected to reach £610 million. Suppliers have continued to revamp and relaunch products, to stimulate more interest in the market and drive sales. At the same time, promotional activity has been intense, encouraging consumers to sample different brands as they take advantage of price offers.

Branded product sales have held up well. Even though money-saving logic would suggest that consumers would desert higher-priced brands for own-label products, the reality has been somewhat different because consumers do not want to trade performance for saving.

Demand for effective, powerful cleaning products that offer great value for money has fuelled growth of multi-purpose cleaning products, which are estimated to achieve sales of £230 million in 2010. Meanwhile, specialist tasks, like cleaning carpets, ovens and blocked drains, are also being tackled by householders rather than calling in a specialist, and this has helped to drive growth for some task-specific cleaners. Sales of specialist cleaners are estimated to reach £59 million .

In terms of distribution, grocery multiples dominate distribution of household cleaning products with 81% sale share. Meanwhile, independent grocers and convenience stores have been losing share of the market and account for around 9% of sales. Discount stores have been growing share, from a small base, thanks to the growing numbers of outlets. Wilkinson, Poundland and others have helped ‘other’ stores to increase to 10% of sales.

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