Kevin Day, Senior Product Development Manager at Robinson Young, the UK’s sole distributor of ACE, talks household cleaning market trends and how wholesalers can adjust their strategy to make the maximum impact.

Across the board, customers continue to watch their basket spend. As inflation rises consumers cut back on ‘boring’ items, so brands that offer versatile, affordable products will reap the benefits. It’s important for brands to emphasize their point of difference and focus on building customer loyalty. This is where we’ve seen success through our hero stain removal product, ACE for Colours, supplemented by a range of other laundry and household cleaning sprays and gels. This year we’re bringing another unique product to market that’s due to hit the shelves in a few months – watch this space for more details.

Last year the laundry market was down 3%*, but that’s not because people aren’t cleaning their clothes. ACE is by far the fastest growing brand in the laundry additives market with 24% uplift in sales volume. This demonstrates a need for high performance at a low price point. The days of niche products like red wine stain removal kits are over – people now want as few products as possible to do the job, and do it well.

We’ve seen that in independent stores, customers are on a ‘top up’ shop and cleaning products are usually ‘distress’ purchases. Typically shoppers only pick up cleaning products if they’ve run out and need something to tide them over until their next full supermarket shop. There’s an often unfounded reputation that huge markup is applied to independent store products, but pricemarked packs (PMPs) offer customers reassurance that the price they are paying is fair.

This is having a knock-on effect up the supply chain, with more buyers opting for PMPs. It’s important to remember that these should be used as part of the greater marketing mix as too many can make the fixture look cluttered and they lose their effect.

We’ve seen a move away from bulk purchases in cash and carries, with buyers preferring to hold less stock and have less money tied up– this gives them greater flexibility both in terms of cash-flow and when updating product lines.

Whilst snacks, newspapers and alcohol might be the bread and butter for wholesalers and independent stores, it’s important not to neglect other areas. Typically household sections are hidden in the corner, rarely looked at and with few SKUs – which isn’t an issue if sellers ensure they have the right products, at the right price, and with competitive and regular promotions that gain front-of-store visibility.

Again, because these are distress purchases customers will hunt them out and fill their basket some more as they navigate the store. At the same time, customers might need signposting to the deals and great products on offer.

*Source: Nielsen Market Data, July 2017


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