desire for healthy, germ-free lives is driving the purchase of household products that benefit their health and wellness, says the latest study released by AC Nielsen Global Services, an operating unit of AC Nielsen.
The study, titled 'What's Hot Around the Globe - Insights on Growth in Household Products', details the hottest product categories that consumers use around the home to keep it clean and running smoothly. The types of products examined in the study included dish, laundry and hand detergents; brooms, brushes and mops; bleaches and disinfectants; batteries; and plastic wraps, aluminium foil and bags.
The aim of the study was to identify categories within household products that are being driven by health and wellness concerns. The overall global growth of the household products categories in the study was 4 per cent, with nine product categories growing at a faster rate than the overall average.
The top five categories which grew at a fast rate in the 2004-05 period were abrasive cleaning pads (growth rate, 13 per cent), disinfectants (13 per cent), garbage bags (8 per cent), laundry stain removers/boosters (6 per cent) and household cleaners (6 per cent).
Of the top categories listed, disinfectants, household cleaners and insect control products all have a focus on maintaining health and hygiene by reducing germs or ridding homes of disease carrying insects. The segment of air sanitisers (which promote the ability to wipe out odour causing bacteria) within the air freshener category also helped drive growth in that category.
"Around the world, consumers are looking to improve and simplify their lives, not only with the food they eat, but with the products they use in their homes," remarks Bienvenido Niles, regional president, AC Nielsen, Asia Pacific. "While we may differ geographically, ethnically and culturally, there is no question that a healthy, hygienic home environment is a high priority for everyone."
The product categories that showed growth also tended to be those that simplified cleaning or reduced the number of steps needed to finish a job. Within automatic dish detergents, for example, the multi-functional detergents ('3-in-1' type products that combined detergent, salt action and rinse aid) showed strong growth. Also, in parts of Latin America, where many consumers wash clothes by hand, fabric softeners that can be added in with the detergent - eliminating an extra rinse-and-soften step - were solid performers.
"One of the important messages from this global study is that consumers are becoming more sophisticated, as demonstrated by the increasing demand for household products with added value," says Niles. "These products go beyond basic necessities and are driving growth for the household segment in less mature markets such as Latin America and in emerging markets."
As one might expect, the more developed regions of Europe and North America experienced lower than average overall growth rates, while the less developed regions of Latin America and the emerging markets experienced faster growth. The Asia Pacific region, with its mix of developed and developing markets, had a slightly higher than average growth rate.
Interestingly, when AC Nielsen grouped the markets in this study into developed and developing nations (based on the World Bank definition of economically developing markets), the research showed that more than two-thirds of the dollar value growth in household products came from the developing markets. Among them, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam recorded more than 10 per cent growth, while India and Sri Lanka were somewhere between 4 and 9 per cent.
"The developing markets are driving most of the dollar growth for household products," Niles comments. "Manufacturer and retailer expansion into these markets with products and infrastructure have significantly impacted the household products categories. The potential for future growth in this area continues to be strong."
For the record, the survey measured 66 markets around the world across 29 categories, comparing year-end results from December 2005 and December 2004. The report was based on purchase information from retailers in grocery, drug and mass merchandise outlets and generally excluded kiosks and vending machines. In a few markets, sales from convenience stores were included.
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