Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s Spring Cleaning feature. The coming spring promises shining sales for cleaning products. First of all there’s our traditional British spring cleaning frenzy – a few minutes’ sunshine as winter draws to a close is enough to send rain-raddled Brits on a cleaning spree!

According to Mintel, four companies account for over half of UK cleaning product sales: Reckitt Benckiser (11%), Unilever (15%), SC Johnson (14%), and Procter & Gamble (13%). They all increased market share over 2008-10, again thanks largely to NPD and marketing support.

The UK household cleaning market grew 20% over 2005-10 to £610 million. Sales are thriving, thanks to high levels of innovation and promotional activity. All-purpose cleaners have fared well as consumers seeking better value for money switched to multi-task products, spending an estimated £230 million in 2010.  And specialist cleaning products took on a new lease of life as cash-strapped consumers tackled tricky cleaning jobs like carpets, ovens and blocked drains themselves rather than calling in outside help. This segment grew to £59 million in 2010, up 16% on 2009.

If you want to know what’s driving all this, Mintel’s Cleaning the House, January 2011 report shows three quarters of Brits get satisfaction from seeing their home clean and tidy. Over half of us prefer it to be clean and tidy all of the time, but four in ten are ‘sometimes embarrassed by the state of their home’. The desire for clean and tidy home surroundings is therefore strong, but cleaning tasks often get neglected due to busy lifestyles. High-performance cleaning products that get jobs done quickly need to be the focus of ‘spring cleaning’ marketing.

And then there are those consumers who spring clean as an investment in their property. According to Mintel, in the current economic environment, with incomes squeezed consumers are reluctant to splash out money on their homes. They see Spring cleaning offering a way to revitalise the home without too much expense.

The trend to stay in and entertain at home is also making consumers do more cleaning up before guests arrive. Based on that, the cleaning bug is unlikely to go away over the next few months – the Easter break in April, the Diamond Jubilee in June and the Olympics in late July and August are all good reasons to have friends and family round, which means doing a bit of cleaning first. Great news all round for sales of cleaning products in 2012!

The Grocery Trader

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