Advertising & Marketing

Global consumers get naturally clean

Whether scrubbing out stains, making glass sparkle or degreasing surfaces, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t list effectiveness as a leading characteristic they seek in household cleaners. But while we all want cleaners that work well, many consumers are also thinking beyond the task at hand. In fact, when asked to pick the attributes they seek when purchasing all-purpose cleaners, 40% around the world say they want environmentally friendly benefits and nearly as many (36%) say they don’t want harsh chemicals.

The interest in ecofriendly cleaning products may reflect a larger move toward simpler, more natural-living attitudes occurring around the world. Consumers are looking for healthier, safer choices in the foods they eat and the products they use in their homes, and it goes beyond mass-marketed sustainable options. In fact, some consumers are relying on cleaning solutions that are basic products found in most homes, which may have the added benefit of being less expensive.

Nearly three-quarters of global respondents (72%) say they regularly use a simple solution of soap and water for cleaning. According to a review of manual dish soap in 12 selected markets*, sales grew 2.9% over the 12 months ending in fourth quarter 2015. The developing markets reviewed showed the greatest growth, with sales increasing 11.5% in the Philippines, 11.2% in Indonesia, 10.5% in Turkey and 5.1% in India.

A few other basic household ingredients also are popular with consumers for cleaning. About one-third of global survey respondents (32%) say they use vinegar, and this ingredient is especially popular in North America (41%) and Europe (38%). In addition, 28% say they use baking soda, with the highest response in North America (40%). Rubbing alcohol, cited by 23% of global respondents, is particularly popular in Latin America (38%)—a preference that aligns with the disinfecting properties these consumers seek in the all-purpose cleaners they purchase, as noted previously.

“For many consumers, a back-to-basics philosophy may be contributing to behaviors, but financial considerations are also factors—especially when consumers are looking to stretch their budgets,” said Sarah Peters, Nielsen Global Business Partner. “Using natural-based, everyday household ingredients has the dual benefit of saving the environment and money, too. Manufacturers looking to tap into a more holistic, home-grown remedy trend may want to consider harnessing the power of basic ingredients in their products.”

Other findings from the global Home-Care report include:

Forty-four percent of global respondents say that the female head of household does a majority of the cleaning in the home, compared to 17% of men.

One-third of North American respondents (33%) say that the male head of household is primarily responsible for purchasing the cleaning products in the household, 12 percentage points higher than the global average.

Two-thirds of global respondents (67%) say they do laundry at least twice per week. 

Forty percent of respondents in Asia-Pacific say they seek laundry detergents that don’t contain harsh chemicals, compared to 35% globally.

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