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The dirt on pods, and other key laundry trends


Just like everyone's gotta eat, everyone must also do laundry. It's no wonder then that the laundry category is a consistently steady one.

In 2012, the laundry care category posted five per cent current value growth to reach $1.5 billion in Canada. The average unit price for liquid laundry detergent was $6.15, according to data from Euromonitor.

It's anticipated the laundry caregory will experience a compound annual growth rate of three per cent over the next five years to reach $1.7 billion in 2017. But with new products such as pods and consumers looking to save money on dry cleaning, key trends are worth noting. Here are a few from Euromonitor:

• Economic pressures in 2012 accelerated the shift from premium to mid-priced and value brands as household budgets became more constrained. In addition to value brands receiving more attention from consumers, sales and promotions became an increasingly prominent feature of retail pricing.

• The introduction of liquid laundry detergent pods in 2012 can be considered the first true innovation in laundry detergents in years. Purex, Tide and Sunlight all launched a liquid detergent laundry pod in the marketplace, gaining retail distribution in all the main channels nationally. Retail sales of laundry pods were expected to reach C$29 million in 2012, with Tide Pods the leader in this newly created category.

• Concentrated liquid detergents posted the strongest current value growth of 7 per cent in 2012, closely followed by liquid fabric softeners with a 6 per cent gain. Detergent and softener are the most frequently purchased products in the category, with trends over the review period heavily favouring the shift from powder to liquid in detergents and from dryer sheets to liquids in softeners.

• In detergents, standard formats continued the declining sales trend seen over the review period. In 2012, retail value sales of standard powder detergents dropped by 12 per cent in current terms while standard liquid detergents fell by 5 per cent. The drop was in large part due to the move to concentrates for liquids, while powder detergents continued to fall out of favour with consumers due to less effective solubility in water and the requirements of new machines.

• One niche category that is gaining traction is laundry detergents formulated specifically for washing sports clothing. Examples of such brands include Sport Suds, No Sweat and Penguin Sport. Distribution at retail level is usually found in speciality athletic stores and sports goods retailers as opposed to mass channels. Although sports-specific products are typically priced higher than mainstream detergents, consumers find added value in speciality detergents because they can preserve the life and functionality of clothing that has been purchased for a particular activity or sport. This includes moisture wicking, water repellents and effective odour elimination.

• Co-branding has gained popularity in the category, with leading manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble and Church & Dwight offering laundry detergents blended with boosters, like Arm & Hammer with OxiClean, and fragrances such as Tide with Febreze.

• Another trend in laundry has been a move to single shot cleaning systems, such as tablets and pods. Over the review period consumers became familiar with capsules through products such as Clorox 2 Packs from Clorox, OxiClean Max Force Power Paks from Church & Dwight and Tide Stain Release from Procter & Gamble.

• Fine fabric detergents posted current value growth of 4 per cent in 2012 to reach sales of C$19 million. This was in large part underpinned by consumers cutting back on professional cleaning costs for non-dry clean clothing that nonetheless requires special washing, and rather than take on the cost of a professional cleaning service will do the washing at home. The leading brand in the category, Woolite, gave out free samples of Woolite Extra Dark Care Laundry Detergent in 2012 to increase awareness and adoption of the brand, as well as promote the ease and convenience of washing fine fabrics at home.

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