The global laundry cleaning brand ACE is looking ahead to an exciting year, with new marketing campaigns and product developments planned. But as the UK faces elements of uncertainty with Brexit, how will consumers react and behave?
Kevin Day, product development manager at Robinson Young, the UK’s sole distributor of ACE, explains: “2016 was a challenging year for the laundry additive category, and we predict that 2017 will continue in the same vein.
“Many laundry detergent brands have looked again at their range and reformulated their products to include better stain removal performance. As a result, consumers will feel they do not require an additive. However, this is a common misconception as customers will need stain removers for those really tough stains that ‘all in one’ detergents cannot shift. We believe ACE’s unique 8+ system will become increasingly important; as well as brilliant stain removal it also makes clothes more hygienic, provides great fragrances, prevents colour runs and keeps clothes bright.”
Kevin continues: “The Brexit vote and currency movement will have a knock-on effect on a multitude of everyday products and pricing will inevitably increase. Perceived “grudge” purchase products such as household essentials are likely to be hardest hit, meaning customers may actively trade down to products that offer them exceptional value and those with a low pick-up price. ACE is in a good position here and it successfully serves both criteria.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty in all markets and price rises forecasted. Unfortunately homes will feel the pinch and research carried out by ACE UK shows that over half of people plan to cut their grocery spend over the coming months.”
According to Nielsen whole market data, in 2016 ACE saw sales increase by 39% YOY and 40% YOY in the multiple retailers which places the stain remover in good stead for 2017. ACE UK is planning a host of different marketing activities to engage with its audience.
Marketing spend has been increased this year and there are plans for a stronger presence on Facebook (ACE UK) and Twitter (@ACECLEANUK) as these are effective channels to communicate messaging, as well as boost engagement with the brand. ACE UK will also be launching some exciting new campaigns over the next 12 months, widening its reach and hopefully its audience.
Kevin says: “We’ve really noticed a split between premium and nonpremium products in the stain removal category over the past year. People want more ‘general’ products these days, whereas a few years ago they wanted specific products – e.g. red wine kits and curry kits for example. Consumers are looking for ease of use and timeefficiency yet still require effective products.”
Trends seem to indicate that consumers are less likely to stick to one shop now and are more “store promiscuous”, visiting various stores for different products and hunting for the best value. Discounter stores are readily accepted and are now destination stores for Household which is something ACE UK has maximised.
“The Laundry additive/Stain removal category is a notoriously ‘noisy’ sector and has always been difficult to shop,” says Kevin, “In some stores there are up to seven variants of one brand in four, which leads to consumers getting confused – most of the retailers have gone through a rationalisation process which has helped, but we would like this to go further and also give customers a range of brands that offer a strong USP.
Standing out from the crowd and offering better value for a better product is where we feel we pip the post amongst our competitors.
“As a brand we are keen to evolve and so feel new product development is vital as things move on. Nothing stays still for long and this is true of the laundry sector. As clothing fashions change so do customers’ demands. Ease of use is also something that we have developed and feel is vital for our customers – our product is suitable for washing at all temperatures and ACE for Colours is suitable for wool and even cashmere thus making it easier for busy families. This is the reason behind the reformulation of ACE for Colours which now offers even better stain removal power for the same price.”
ACE for Colours is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda, Morrisons, Ocado and Morrisons as well value stores such as Savers and Poundland and recently in Nisa stores. Broadening ACE’s availability across the UK is part of a growth strategy which will complement plans to branch out into new categories in 2017 – something that ACE feels will offer its customers more choice and good value.