LAUNDRY DETERGENT SALES REMAIN STEADY, BUT WHERE CONSUMERS ARE SPENDING
THEIR MONEY AND HOW THEY’RE CLEANING CLOTHES IS CHANGING.
SINCE THE DAYS of washboard and soap bar, when it comes to laundry, the end game has remained constant: clean, stain-free clothing. But how consumers get from point a
to point B has evolved. today, factors from format (pods vs. liquids) to fabric content (think “athleisure” apparel) are changing
how consumers clean their garments, as recent sales numbers
according to iRi data for the 52 weeks ended nov. 1, 2015,
laundry detergent sales at multi-outlets rose less than 1% to $6.9
billion. in liquids, the largest category, sales were essentially flat
at $5.1 billion, while packets/bars—the sector where unit dose
is tallied—posted a 19.92% gain to $957.1 million. and as has
been the trend for years, powder sales continued to decline, falling 10.41% to $778.3 million.
The Reality of the Dose
Pods growth remains strong despite issues about product safety.
For example, Consumer Reports announced in July that it would
no longer recommend liquid laundry detergent pods due to the
“continued high-rate of accidental positioning of young children attributable to those products.”the organization—which rates and recommends a bevy of
consumer products from automobiles to yogurt—said it was strongly urging households with children younger than 6 to
refrain from purchasing the format.
the detergent industry as a whole,
however, continues to address the issue, including efforts spearheaded by
organizations such as the american
Cleaning institute. (You hear more
about aCi’s efforts in a recent podcast on
Happi.com.) and manufacturers are making changes too. For example, last fall, P&G
announced that it would add a bitter taste to
the outer layer of its tide, Gain and ariel laundry pacs in north america and make packaging opaque with more secure closures.
“in the long run, the safety issues
shouldn’t destroy their ability to remain
a growing market,” said Ryan tuttle, a research analyst with
Euromonitor international, who noted that the unit dose catego-
ry is expected to show continued grow through 2020.
Cleaning, Conditioning and Care
it is no surprise that tide rules the roost in unit dose, and the
P&G powerhouse brand has been promoting the use of its pods
with ancillary products such as scent boosters and conditioners.
“We continue to educate consumers how the fabric care
regimen of tide Pods laundry detergent along with Downy fabric
conditioner helps clothes look newer longer,” said Mary Johnson,
P&G fabric care scientist.
according to Johnson, tide Pods plus Febreze fuses Febreze
for long-lasting freshness with the stain removal power and con-
venience of detergent packs. the 4-in-1 technology gives users
detergent, stain remover, brightener and 24 hours of freshness all
in one pac while Downy fabric conditioner protects clothes at the
fiber level to reduce abrasion from daily wear, which ages clothes.
“think about it this way—you wouldn’t use a shampoo with-
out a conditioner, so why would you treat your clothes any dif-
ferently? Using the two products together not only
cleans your garments but protects them, ensur-
ing that they look their best wear after wear,”
Conditioning and protecting clothing is on the minds of decision makers at
Sun Products, which is the no. 3 player
in fabric softener concentrates (based
on iRi analysis). among the firm’s 2015
rollouts were all Radiant, which features patented“Fiber Shield technology”
which is said to restore dingy whites and
protect colors from fading as well as two
new Snuggle liquid softener scents (island
Hibiscus & Rainflower and Fresh Spring
Flowers) which helped Snuggle become
one of the fastest growing brands in the
conditioning category this year, according
to Ed Vlacich, president national brands and
chief marketing officer at Sun Products.
Christine Esposito • Associate Editor
Tide offers unit dose products that deliver on
multiple fronts, such as Tide+Febreze 4in1. The
container is opaque and harder to open, which
helps keep young, curious children safer.