At the onset of the pandemic, household surface cleaners became integral to consumers’ survival strategy as these products claimed to kill or remove the COVID-19 virus. However, with consumers now returning to pre-pandemic lifestyles, Mintel GNPD data shows that brands are also moving away from multi-purpose surface cleaners and disinfectants and re-focusing on areas like the toilet and kitchen, which remain key areas that continue to need cleaning due to hygiene concerns.
Growing interest in ‘clean’ household care
While clean claims are trending in India’s beauty and personal care category, even household care is seeing similar behaviour. While antibacterial remains fundamental to the category, it is slowly giving way to more ethical and botanical claims, hinting on the growing need for cleaner household care as well. For instance, Mintel GNPD shows that environmentally friendly is among the top ten claims (33%) among product launches in the last five years through November 2022. Home-grown players are capitalising on the clean trend with innovations focusing on natural claims.
The trend towards natural ingredients is driven by increasing concerns surrounding the health effects of using chemicals in the home and their effects on the environment, as explored in Mintel’s 2019 Household Trend Healthy, Happy Home. Natural cleaning products can therefore appeal to safety. Highlighting the use of recognisable ingredients, such as those derived from nature, can reassure consumers that their products are safer for them and their families.
For example, the Indonesian brand Seven Sages Sevara Collection Bergamot Disinfectant contains 70% food-grade ethyl alcohol, is vegan and free of parabens, preservatives and dyes. While there is potential to explore all-natural claims, it’s important that brands strike a balance between efficacy and natural.
Hybrid working model creates new opportunities for household care
Hybrid working has provided flexibility and more time at home but can also add to the stress levels of balancing work and household chores. In 2021, over a third (36%) of Indian consumers who are employed said that their day-to-day life is very stressful.
Multi-purpose cleaners can highlight effective and effortless cleaning benefits to time-pressed consumers while creating new engagement and cleaning opportunities. Brands can target parents who are key purchasers of household products. Mintel research shows that over half (57%) of Indian parents prefer using a single product cleaner for all their cleaning purposes. Among the top functional claims they seek are removing tough stains (46%) and/or grease and superior cleaning (43%).
One example from India is Koparo Clean Natural All Purpose Spray. The product can be used across different surfaces, such as kitchen counters, appliances, windows, and bathroom surfaces and claims to be safe for children and pets. Another local brand Zerodor Care cleaner, can clean fabrics and surfaces and claims to remove all sorts of stains.
Tagging on emotional benefits
Household cleaning has traditionally been a less engaging category. However, brands can enhance their emotional connections with consumers by offering escapism and a sense of calmness.
Household cleaning brands can use fragrances (eg aromatherapy) to push the senses. The Geranium & Lavender Floor Cleaner from Homegrown brand PureCult is formulated with a blend of natural and other readily biodegradable surfactants and natural antimicrobial agents. It claims to have a refreshing combination of geranium and calming lavender essential oils, which can uplift one’s mood.
What we think
Despite COVID-19 concerns waning, hygiene is still important for consumers who will continue to spend on home cleaning. However, the category might struggle due to the impact of inflation, with more than half (52%) of Indians saying they looked more carefully at the price of household products in the last six months through September 2022. Hence, with consumers facing smaller-sized wallets, household care brands will have to do more to justify their value to the everyday consumer.