Following a strong year in 2011, a slowdown in sales growth for air fresheners has left the market value up only slightly compared to two years earlier, at £428 million in 2013. Within this overall picture of a relatively flat market, different segments have had mixed fortunes, with sales of scented candles and non-powered units up strongly, but aerosols and powered products declining.
Scented candles have been one of the major drivers of growth in the air care market, with sales increasing by nearly 7% in 2012 due to strong NPD activity and increased choice. Value sales of scented candles are expected to continue to grow during 2013.
The continuous non-electric segment of air fresheners has become more sophisticated, with products such as Set & Refresh, Touch ‘n Fresh and Discreet Décor helping to add value compared with more old-fashioned solid/gel air fresheners. This success for non-powered units hit sales of electric air care products, including plug-ins and battery operated units, which declined by a further 4% in 2012, but are expected to remain the biggest segment in 2013 with 35% of the market.
Purchases of air care products are largely discretionary, so shoppers need to be reminded to buy them through high product visibility at retail level and strong marketing support for new launches, whether these are completely new products or seasonal range extensions. The big challenge for brands trying to grow sales is increasing frequency of usage and shortening the replacement purchase cycle.
While they are slightly less likely to make use of air fresheners overall, younger people (16-34-year-olds) are particularly likely to use air fresheners in their bedroom, especially standalone spray units, scented candles and reed diffusers. The younger end of this age group (16-24s) are likely to spend more time in their bedroom and want to put their own mark on it.