household-freshnersIn a matter of just a few years, consumer attitudes in to household fresheners have shifted considerably.  Used in 17 million UK homes, the recession has seen people cut down on spend on what to some is classed as a household luxury. Between 2007 and 2009, household fresheners were used in 300,000 fewer homes – scented candles were hit the hardest, used in 1 million fewer households over the past 2 years.

However, while consumers may be using fewer conventional fresheners such as click sprays and aerosols,  many Brits are switching to alternative formats such as reed diffusers, joysticks, fragrant dried flowers or aromatic oils.

But the recession has brought about a mixed bag of fortune for the industry. Indeed, the recession has seen a rise in the number of people who spend a lot of their free time at home, and this is set to have a positive impact on the demand for household fresheners to ensure a pleasant home environment using scent. However, the recession is having a greater impact on the £342 million market in terms of how cost-conscious consumers have become. More than one in five adults have cut back how much they spend on household fresheners and are taking advantage of price cuts and discounts with value sales sliding 1.5% in 2009.bathroom.

There is evidence of a class divide in terms of attitudes towards household fresheners. ABC1s are more likely to hold negative views on household fresheners than lower social grades.

Looking at attitudes towards fresheners, according to exclusive consumer research, almost half of adults fall into the ‘anti-chemicals’ consumer group, consumers put off by the thought of inhaling chemicals used in air fresheners. Although more than four in ten adults have an air freshener on hand in the bathroom, Mintel’s research shows that there is a strong preference to simply open the window rather than use an air freshener.

The research also finds that household fresheners are connected with a sense of pride in the home. While men are found not to use household fresheners as a substitute for cleaning, there is evidence that adults aged 15-24 do.

In terms of distribution, point-of-sale price promotions help multiple grocers dominate value sales, accounting for an estimated 68p of every £1 spent on household fresheners in the UK in 2009. The non-essential spend nature of household fresheners is helping to grow value sales for discounters, which tend to offer products at more competitive prices than the supermarkets. Meanwhile, a desire to feel better by self-treating with small indulgences is driving value sales through health and beauty retailers as women shop for beauty brand fresheners in a bid to feel pampered.

Towards the future, growth is expected to pick up by 2014, averaging at a 3% year on year increase in the coming five years.

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