The Natural Choice
Product shortages gave a boost to the natural cleaning segment. Mintel research indicates that natural brands saw sharp sales growth when they became the alternative for consumers who couldn’t find their regular cleaning products. As supply issues subside, natural cleaning products have new opportunities. Trial drives adoption of natural products, and many consumers who may not have been inclined to try natural products may now find them preferable to more traditional brands. Price does remain a hurdle in this segment, but research shows that there’s an upside opportunity in the natural cleaning product segment.
Research from Mintel reveals that compared with 2020, fewer consumers are abandoning natural for mainstream products, particularly disinfectants, and 24% of all consumers and 36% of parents of children age 5 and under resolve to use more natural products once the pandemic is over.
Mintel experts believe that green will evolve to stand for better convenience as big brands acquire successful natural brands or launch natural brands of their own. For instance, Procter & Gamble recently launched 9 Elements, a line of laundry and home care products with vinegar and plant-based ingredients. The line’s home cleaning products are made without artificial preservatives, dyes, thickeners and synthetic fragrances, and include a bathroom cleaner, a multipurpose cleaner and dish soap.
“Increasingly, consumers will expect green niche brands to be more innovatively nimble,” notes Mintel’s report. Small green brands that can make the leap to natural formulas that deliver unique benefits will shape the future of natural home care, the research predicts.
Kemmet points to the rising interest in reducing waste through concentrates and tab/pod refill options that allow the consumer to reuse bottles. “Although the category size is still very small and these products tend to be sold more online, it’s a trend worth watching,” she says. “Grove Collaborative, a direct-to-consumer products company which recently hit shelves at Target, is a company focused on ‘clean’ products for the home that also don’t spoil the earth or our health. They are creating a reality where household essentials of every kind are actually good for you and the world.”
While consumers are always looking for innovation — and the pandemic heightened the desire for products that do more, Mintel’s research shows that price is still a major factor in purchasing decisions. More than 60% of consumers cite price as their most important purchase criteria, followed by “familiar brand” (47%) and “products that are safe for the whole family” (44%). Retailers need to stay sharp on prices in this category.
“We are starting to see promotion frequency increasing, but depth of discount and investment levels are still deflated compared to 2019,” observes Kemmet. “Given the increase in demand for cleaning products, compared to 2019, retailers should look to increase displays of cleaning products.”