In a recent online survey, Echo Research, on behalf of The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), asked 1,777 U.S. adult consumers whether they or someone in their household spring cleans every year; 72% said spring cleaning was an annual ritual.
Eight percent said they spring clean every few years or less often, while 5% said every other year. Twelve percent said they never spring clean. Among those who do spring clean at one time or another, 76% target the bedroom, followed by the kitchen (73%), bathroom (69%) family room or den (61%) and dining room (45%).
Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated that economic conditions have influenced their home cleaning behaviors. The top two changes include buying less expensive cleaning products and cleaning more themselves rather than hiring a service.
While women overall remain considerably more likely than men to claim sole responsibility for household cleaning, the gender gap continues to narrow, according to market research from Mintel. Roughly nine out of 10 men claim to at least share responsibility for housecleaning, and about one third say they take sole responsibility, up from just 17% in 2006.
Usage incidence of glass cleaners and general household cleaners, the two most widely used types of surface cleaners, has held steady between 2005 and 2012. Seven in 10 consumers agreed that disinfection has become more important to them when cleaning their homes, making it a key benefit for surface cleaner brands to incorporate into products.
Household surface cleaners showed 1.8% growth in 2012. Despite the overall economizing mindset of the past five years caused by difficult economic conditions, consumers continue to gravitate to new products that help them clean more quickly and easily or tackle old cleaning problems in new, more effective ways.
Mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, and dollar stores continue to capture household surface cleaner sales. Together, these channels account for nearly 69% of category sales in 2012, up nearly two points since 2010 at the expense of traditional supermarkets and drug stores. Private label share is relatively low at 8.1% of category sales, said Mintel.
Green gains momentum
Continued consumer interest in more sustainable lifestyles has driven the U.S. market for “Green” (eco-friendly) cleaning products—including household surface cleaners and laundry products—to total retail sales of $640 million in 2011, up from $303 million in 2007, for a growth rate of 20%, according to the Packaged Facts report Green Cleaning Products in the U.S. Correspondingly, 41% of respondents to an online Packaged Facts consumer survey conducted in 2012 indicated that they had purchased or used natural, organic, or eco-friendly household cleaning/laundry products within the previous 12 months, up from 38% in 2009.
Cleaning products see increased competition
The All-Purpose segment continues to grow more competitive, said Mintel, and has
experienced only modest growth over the past two years, despite accounting for approximately half of all surface cleaner new product activity. Competition within this segment has become particularly varied and intense as brands from more specialized segments have introduced multi-surface and all-purpose line extensions.
Many brands are also “teaming up.” For instance, S.C. Johnson’s Nature’s Source Natural Bathroom Cleaner uses Scrubbing Bubbles to help remove soap scum and grime on ceramic tile, stainless steel, chrome fixtures and fiberglass. Nature’s Source Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner uses Windex to tackle glass, mirrors, chrome and stainless steel, while Nature’s Source Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, also with Windex, helps eliminate grease and grime on countertops and appliances.
Arm & Hammer Surface Cleaning Spray by Munchkin uses the natural cleaning power of baking soda to effectively clean toys, highchairs, counters, bath tubs and anything that baby touches. Only the fresh smell of lavender is left behind after using the specially formulated spray that is free of dyes, parabens and phthalates. The 16oz product is not tested on animals.
Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner with Color Power Technology, from S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., has a specifically designed formula that sprays on blue and turns white as it cleans. It targets tough stains and safely cleans a variety of bathroom areas, including countertops, showers and toilets. It even works upside down, getting to hard-to-reach spots. The can is manufactured by DS Containers.
Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Power Sprayer has a continuous sprayer that helps provide better coverage for the whole bathroom, with a powerful formula of active cleaners that work continuously for days.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Radish Countertop Spray utilizes the formula of the company’s All Purpose Cleaner and added a special vegetable protein extract as a naturally fresh way to remove odors. It’s suitable for all non-porous surfaces, such as finished wood and tile floors, countertops, walls, porcelain and bathroom fixtures. The complementing Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap can be used in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room to wash and soften hard-working hands. It contains naturally emollient aloe vera, olive oil glycerin and fragrant essential oils.
Try to concentrate
Housecleaners who use refills or concentrates of surface cleaners are more likely to be motivated by money savings than by eco-friendliness, according to Mintel research, and promoting refills and concentrates as a common-sense way to economize could convince more consumers to try them.
Over 35 years ago, concentrated Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner was formulated for the industrial marketplace, but has since made its way into homes. The environmentally-sensitive, non-toxic, cleaner/degreaser can be economically custom-diluted for various uses, such as a laundry soak or for cleaning floors and walls, pots and pans, windows, sinks and drains, and even greasy tools.
Its recently reconfigured, all-plastic trigger sprayer needed to be consumer-friendly, U.S.-made and tough enough to handle a wide range of chemical formulations. It was designed and supplied by MWV, Simple Green’s longtime packaging provider.
Replenish is the creator of a patented reusable concentrate mixing and delivery system designed to transform the way household products are packaged and consumed. The company’s flagship product is a multi-surface, ultra-concentrated household cleaner in a new reusable bottle system that makes cleaning easier, is better for the environment and saves money for consumers and retailers. Using a reusable, built-in, twist-on pod, consumers can measure the concentrate to make four bottles of Replenish cleaner. By encouraging reuse, Replenish has a goal of eliminating a billion bottles from landfills, a billion miles off roads and a billion pounds of chemicals out of the environment. Replenish’s products are developed and manufactured in the U.S. and tested to last for more than 10,000 trigger pulls.
Floor cleaners/wax removers were strong performer between 2007 and 2012, due to the increasing prevalence of hard surface flooring, said Mintel.
Convenience-oriented products sell well, and this includes Endust Wood Floor Cleaner from Nakoma Products. Endust safely dissolves dirty and sticky messes, without leaving any dulling or oily residue. It restores wood’s natural shine, while Invertispray technology makes it easy to turn the can upside down and evenly apply at the press of a button. With no need of mixing, pouring, buckets or mess, the consumer simply points, sprays and cleans with a mop. Endust dispenses as foam to identify coverage and then liquefies to clean.
“As far as we know, the public has never been offered the opportunity to clean its wood floors with an aerosol product, which we believe is the world’s most convenient and efficient application method,” commented Jonathon Spagat, Nakoma Products.
Endust comes in a can from Ball; the product’s formula was developed by Chicago Aerosol, who also manufactured the product.
“Gee, your house smells terrific…”
The U.S. air freshener market declined by 4% between 2010 and 2011, decreasing from $2.18 billion to $2.09 billion in sales, according to Mintel. The market is expected to continue declining, shrinking to sales of $1.7 billion by 2017. These declines are expected largely due to continued economic challenges, as well as competition from scented household cleaners and scented candles.
At 81%, sprays/aerosols command the highest usage among consumers. While most segments saw sales fall from 2010-12, the aerosols segment saw a 1.6% increase in sales and an increase of market share of 2.6 percentage points. Following sprays/aerosols are candles for burning (73%), candles for decoration (66%) and plug-ins (56%).
Consumers are purchasing air fresheners through a number of retail channels. The majority (nearly 70%) of air freshener sales are taking place within the “other channels” retail segment, which includes mass merchandisers, supercenters, club stores and dollar stores. Consumers are not looking for a boutique shopping experience when purchasing these functional products, explained Mintel.
Greater than two thirds of consumers reported usage (77%), while slightly less than a quarter reporting that they do not use air fresheners. Mintel reported that nearly 60% of consumers report that they mostly use air fresheners when they have an unpleasant scent in the home, while more than 50% report that they mostly use them to make their home smell fresh for guests.
This year, Reckitt Benckiser’s Air Wick brand launched six new limited edition fragrances that are inspired by the rare essence of U.S. national parks and are featured in its full range of air freshener products. As a supporter of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, Air Wick developed the scents based on the unique flora and elements of popular U.S. parks. Scents include Grand Canyon (floral notes of delicate cactus blossoms in the warm summer breeze); Virgin Islands (tropical plumeria and sweet honeysuckle); American Samoa (coconut and island palms); Denali (pure cotton grass and fresh spring air); Gulf Islands (white sand beaches and summertime paradise) and Hawaii (exotic papaya and hibiscus flower).
The Sleep Serenity collection is the latest product innovation from Febreze, designed specifically for the bedroom. Its calming scents help create a soothing bedtime atmosphere needed for relaxation and a more peaceful night’s rest. Febreze Sleep Serenity’s technology helps eliminate odor and fills the bedroom with long-lasting, calming scents such as Moonlit Lavender, Warm Milk & Honey and Quiet Jasmine.
Give DIY a try…
Looking after homes is not just about cleaning, it’s also about maintaining one’s castle. Several new products were launched to make it easier for the Do-it-yourselfer.
Wood care company Minwax has taken its popular wood stain product—Minwax PolyShades One-Step Stain & Polyurethane—and made it even easier to use by putting it in a convenient aerosol spray can. The aerosols do not require a pre-stain wood conditioner, are suitable for working on hard-to-reach areas and can also be applied over existing stained or polyurethane-coated finishes for a quick wood and furniture update.
PolyShades aerosol is available in Pecan, American Walnut, Classic Oak, Mission Oak and Classic Black, in both gloss and satin sheens. It comes in a can from B-WAY that sports a valve from Summit Packaging and cap from Berry Plastics.
Contractors now have the ability to attain an invisible wall repair in less time with the introduction of Homax Pro Grade Wall Texture. Combining the control of a hopper gun and the convenience of an aerosol, Pro Grade Wall Texture matches a wide range of texture patterns. As a result, the new 25-ounce aerosol product helps reduce application time from a traditional two-day process to two hours. Repairs include punch-lists, patches and remodeling projects in bathrooms, kitchens, accent walls and closets. It’s suitable for tight spot repair applications as close as 6″, such as behind a toilet, as well as for applications on walls up to 125 square feet. The advanced formula is tinted for improved visibility during application and the no-prime feature saves the contractor time.
According to the company, the product is the first self-priming, low odor aerosol texture with a pressure adjustment toggle and pattern control dial for precise spray control. In addition, a pull trigger and ergonomic grip helps reduce finger fatigue for increased productivity. Without the hopper gun, the water-based product shortens cleanup tasks; it requires no tools, allowing cleanup to be simple and fast.
WD-40 Co. has added three new products to its WD-40 Specialist line. Developed at the WD-40 R&D Center, all of the new products are 50-state VOC compliant. Dirt & Dust Resistant Dry Lube (10oz) dries quickly and has a specially created formula for reducing friction and wear. An NSF Category H2 product, it also resists dirt, dust and oil, helps release molded parts, and lubricates slides, rollers and hinges. With a powerful stream that sprays up to five feet, Machine & Engine Degreaser (18oz) has a deep-foaming, penetrating action that quickly removes grease, oil, dirt and grime. Authorized for use under NSF Category C1, it is suitable for use on engines, gears, chains, industrial machinery, power equipment and metal tools, and helps make equipment run smoother, last longer and look like new. An NSF K2 registered product, Electrical Contact Cleaner Spray (11 oz) is safe to use on a variety of surfaces such as plastics, rubbers and metals. With its Smart Straw technology, it can easily clean oil, dirt, flux residue and condensation from circuit boards, controls, switches, precision instruments and electrical panels.
Housecleaning remains an essential chore, and financially-pressed consumers continue to look for ways to limit expenditures. As a result, more concentrates and reusable products are expected to launch in the future.
While household surface cleaner category sales have advanced little in 2007-2012, rising just 2% to a little less than $4.7 billion, but falling 8% on an inflation-adjusted basis, Mintel’s forecast calls for modest growth, with an increase of 7% between 2012 and 2017 to $4.9 billion. SPRAY