chazAs Christmas approaches, there’s one department in the cash ‘n’ carry or wholesale depot that you need to keep well stocked – household cleaning. Never underestimate the power of the British consumer’s demand for these everyday products, and the sales opportunity they represent for your independent retail customers.

On a cold winter’s afternoon, when darkness falls soon after three o’clock, it might seem unlikely, but as soon as the sun comes out consumers are driven to get out the polish and clean their house. The other big motivator to start moving with the mop and duster is when people have guests coming, which of course happens a lot at this time of year.

Household cleaning products are often bought as a distress purchase, by consumers who don’t want to go to the supermarket for just one or two items. Instead, they go to the neighbourhood retailer. And he in turn goes to the cash ‘n’ carry, or buys from the delivered wholesaler. So think of sales in the Christmas/New Year break as a major opportunity to clean up.

Two of the biggest names in this market are Reckitt & Benckiser and Unilever, both with very strong product portfolios, including some big, nationally advertised brands, which are instantly recognized on shelf.

Almost six in ten consumers always clean/tidy their home before guests arrive; nearly eight in ten value having a clean house; and a further six in ten actually gain satisfaction from doing housework. The latter attitude is particularly prevalent among women (rising to 70%), and among the 25-34s (66%). By contrast, three in ten consumers admit that the last thing they want to do when they get home from work is clean the house, with 47% saying they clean up as they go along, and one in five relegating it to the weekend.

Over three in ten men, and 37% of the under-24s, admit that someone else is responsible for doing the housework (compared to only one in ten women). Half of women claim that they are the only ones who do the housework, compared to a quarter of men.

That said, when the guests are coming and the cleaning has to be done, pretty often the woman who is busy in the kitchen and the man is stuck with the cleaning and when he realizes there’s a distinct shortage of cleaning products, makes a dash to the neighbourhood shop.

Today’s generation of cleaning products are designed to take the effort out of cleaning while making the consumer feel they’ve done a good job. All of which adds to the argument – your local convenience store customers should stock up on these convenient products, because when people see them, they will buy them. Remember that and you’ll clean up on your household cleaners!

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