Dust and stains remain unavoidable adversaries for consumers worldwide. It’s not surprising, then, that we spend a significant amount of time trying to keep our homes and clothes fresh and clean. In Nielsen’s new Global Survey examining home cleaning and laundry habits, one-third of Chinese respondents (33%) say they clean every day, and nearly half respondents (46%) say they do laundry daily, reflecting Chinese consumers are very concerned about personal hygiene.
The report finds that today, 44% of Chinese respondents say the female head of household does the majority of cleaning. But that’s not to say men aren’t sharing in the load. 33% people say house cleaning is a shared responsibility between the two heads of the household, which is higher than global average of 28%, and 14% of respondents say men do the majority of cleaning. Responsibility for product purchasing largely mirrors who is doing the cleaning—with even greater female influence. More than half of Chinese respondents (55%) say the female head of household buys the majority of cleaning products, nearly one-quarter (24%) say it’s a shared responsibility and slightly fewer (17%) say the male head of household is responsible for the majority of purchasing.
“The perception that home care is only women’s work is inaccurate,” said Tina Ding, Vice President of Nielsen China. “The female head of household remains a key stakeholder in the cleaning process in many homes, but as more men play an active role in housework, marketing strategies need to reflect a more balanced approach—from product innovations to marketing messages. This will require a deeper understanding of how each gender approaches the task of cleaning and where gaps in current offerings may exist.”
Modern retailers come out on top in every region as the self-reported place to purchase cleaning products. Majority (83%) of Chinese respondents say they purchased household cleaning products from a large in-store retail chain (such as a mass merchandiser or hypermarket) in the past 12 months.
E-commerce is an important purchasing channel for cleaning products in China. Forty-three percent of respondents in China say they have purchased household-cleaning supplies from an online retailer in the past 12 months, far higher than the global average of 23%.
“Distribution is the top driver of product trial, and it is positively correlated with product volume,” said Tina Ding. “Presently, e-commerce accounts for only a small share of household products sales, but it is growing rapidly, particularly in Asia. As increasing economic prosperity in the region drives sales of household cleaners, establishing and maintaining strong relationships with both brick-and- mortar and pure-play online retailers will be important for capitalizing on this growth.”
Respondents in Asia-Pacific are also inclined to shop at traditional stores. Four in 10 respondents in the region say they’ve purchased cleaning products from a small, family-owned shop during the past 12 months, 10 percentage points above the global average.
It should come as no surprise that efficiency and value top the list of most important attributes in a home cleaning product. Fifty-eight percent of Chinese respondents say performance (it cleans well) is very important when selecting a household cleaning product. In addition, forty-one percent say good price/value is very important. Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) Chinese respondents say a trusted brand name is very important, while slightly fewer (36%) say a previous experience is very important when selecting household-cleaning products is very important.
And secondary attributes should not be overlooked. Nearly three in 10 respondents say packaging that is easy to use or store (28%) or that comes in a size that fits their family’s needs (25%) is very important. In addition, some consumers are leaning green. Thirty-one percent of Chinese respondents say organic/all-natural ingredients are very important, and 23% say environmentally friendly/sustainable packaging is very important.
Chinese consumers purchasing laundry detergent also list performance as a top attribute when making a choice—70% say they seek detergents that are best at getting stains out. More than half (57%) say they look for high-efficiency products (i.e., products that require less water), and 46% say they’re looking for detergents they can use on multiple types of items. Over one-third (40%) of Chinese respondents say they seek detergents that don’t contain harsh chemicals and slightly fewer (35%) want environmentally friendly detergents.