A recent report in Retail World has outlined a change in the performance of products in the household cleaning category linked to changes in the lifestyles of Australians.
Australians are reportedly looking for more than just performance when making their decision to purchase, it appears that there is a trend to look at alternative aspects including:
- Safer products – both for the environment and the family;
- Efficiency – products that do more while taking up less space.
The shift to more efficient products has been attributed to consumers moving closer to cities and therefore having less storage space, so more efficient products are needed to accommodate this shift.
I am sure all of us working in the industry have seen the shift to safer products, with a demand for products that are not only safer for the environment but also for the consumer. This shift to safer/environmental products has been seen around the globe and was the topic of many of the presentations at the World Conference on Fabric and Home Care in Montreux (see previous blog). All of the major manufacturers noted this shift in consumer attitude, however they also noted that consumer expectation is that these attributes will be delivered with no drop in performance or increase in price. Definitely a major challenge.
There a brands that market purely on the safer/environmental platform, however these brands tend not to compete directly with mainstream detergents, being more niche products, and therefore are able to demand higher pricing to deliver these benefits. They also often do not have to meet the consumer expectation for performance or price since many of their purchasers are previously from the environmental area and therefore have a lower expectation of performance and are willing to pay a premium.
The shift to more efficient products is also quite familiar to many of us with many of the product launches occurring over the past few years being more compact products offering multiple benefits with an “ease of use” platform, such as tablets and pods.
The fact that the report in Retail World has indicated that these “shifts” in the attitude of Australian consumers have affected the performance of products in the market shows that the industry is not delivering on these consumer expectations.
There is still a lot of work to do on achieving high performing products for a competitive price that meet consumer expectation.