Clear or inexperienced?

The global pandemic affected what consumers wanted in their household cleaning products.

Unsurprisingly, consumers' primary focus has been making sure they are protecting themselves and their loved ones. This means they were more inclined to buy products they trusted to protect them from exposure to potentially dangerous household pathogens.

In July 2020, Mintel asked consumers in Australia which features are important to them when purchasing cleaning products. The two most popular attributes were "antibacterial" (52%) and "eliminate germs" (41%).

When the same question was asked in March 2021, both had dropped to 39% and 37%. Instead, “multipurpose” (40%) was the most influential trait.

Richard Hopping, household analyst at Mintel UK, says this may be an indicator of how things are going to play around the world in the future.

"There is no doubt that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on people's attitudes towards hygiene at home," he said.

"While it won't be the same or the same, some of the behaviors caused by the pandemic will persist for at least the next few years."

When Mintel asked Australian consumers what cleaning habits they will try in the future, 42% said they would clean frequently touched surfaces more often and 33% would prioritize disinfection.

Mintel also anticipates that other aspects of health and wellbeing will return to the focus of consumers.

"For example, we expect concerns about the chemicals in cleaning products to rise again as people still feel like they need to continuously take care of their health without putting such a strong focus on hygiene."

Another element of cleaning products that consumers have requested during the pandemic has been convenience. As consumers were at home and therefore cleaned more frequently, products such as wipes became more attractive.

In the UK, Mintel found that 24% of kitchen roll buyers / users had started using kitchen rolls instead of towels to clean their home in the past six months.

That kind of convenience usually comes at the expense of greener behavior, says Hopping.

“During this time, people had to weigh hygiene against sustainability. I think this is going to be something brands and retailers should think about because in a world less hygienic, consumers want brands to help them have their cake and eat it too. Convenient cleaning but in a way that won't harm the planet. "

For more information on the household items category, see the May issue of Retail World magazine.

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