A look inside the methodology of the HCPA Aerosol Pressurized Products Survey

Written on: June 1, 2020 by Nicholas Georges

In May, the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) published its 69th annual Aerosol Pressurized Products Survey. The survey reports on the unit production of aerosol products, valves and containers within the U.S. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the aerosol industry, while providing relevant information on the size and trends of aerosol products and component production across the country.  Companies rely on the results of this survey to gauge their overall growth in comparison to the industry and/or identify potential opportunities within product categories. Companies can also use this information to reassess their sales strategy, production planning and future investments. As a whole, the industry can use the report to communicate with legislators, regulators and other key stakeholders about the economic impact of the aerosol industry.

Every year, U.S. manufacturers of aerosol products, containers and valves are asked to report their production data, specifically all units at the product category level, including Insect Sprays, Paints and Finishes, Household Products, Personal Care Products, Animal Products, Automotive/Lubricant/Industrial Products, Food Products and Miscellaneous. Aerosol fillers are also asked to report the number of filled unit products that they exported, the number of containers and valves that they imported, the total number of bag-on-valve (BOV) aerosols that they filled and the percentage of aerosol products that were contract-filled for another company.

This year’s survey featured a streamlined form for aerosol manufacturers to complete. This decision was voted on by the HCPA Aerosol Products Division survey committee to encourage participation.

HCPA contracts a third-party survey firm, Association Research, Inc. (ARI), to administer the survey and collect the results. The survey committee, which is made up of volunteers from valve, container and propellant companies, contacts aerosol manufacturers from across the U.S. to participate. Following the deadline for participation, ARI shares a one- time report of aggregate data, mined from the survey results, with the survey committee. Using a third-party survey firm ensures that participant information remains confidential and not shared with anyone at HCPA, on the survey committee or in the industry.

For companies that do not respond to the survey, the survey committee meets with ARI to estimate the remaining production for each product category. ARI provides the aggregate totals from the companies that participated in the survey and identifies the non-responding companies and the product categories they manufacture. However, to protect confidentiality, if a product category has too few respondents or a single manufacturer makes up the majority of the market, ARI withholds that aggregate number from the survey committee.

The survey committee then estimates the product category market of the non-respondents by utilizing their sales data and market knowledge. For most product categories, the estimation is based on valve sales. In the cases that valve sales cannot be used to estimate the non-respondents, container sales data is used. These estimates are provided directly to ARI to help ensure confidentiality. No individual company, whether a valve or container supplier, or an aerosol product filler, is ever singled out or specifically discussed—protecting confidentiality is of the utmost importance to this survey.

Participation in the survey makes it easier to estimate the remaining totals since less estimation is needed to generate the final results of the survey. When fewer companies
participate, it weakens the industry’s ability to understand year-over-year growth in specific product categories and makes it more challenging for companies to identify potential market opportunities.

I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s survey, especially in light of the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had, not only on companies, but also on all of our personal lives. The response rate increased year-over-year, and I know that wasn’t easy for many, considering the challenges that everyone is facing. Your participation makes the report more robust and accurate and requires less estimation to account for missing data. For those of you who intended to participate, but just weren’t able, I also want to thank you for your support and hope that you’ll be able to participate next year.

Participation in next year’s survey is critical. While it is important every year to help better understand the landscape of the aerosol industry, given the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic uncertainty that it appears to have unleashed, everyone’s participation is needed so the report can remain accurate.

Although HCPA sponsors and finances the survey, this is truly an industry report that is meant to benefit the entire aerosol industry. If you have any questions about the survey or the report, please contact me at ngeorges@thehcpa.org. SPRAY