New Ways of Doing Laundry Set to Crack U.S. Market
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, laundry tablets were introduced to the U.S. market by Unilever, who'd successfully marketed them in Europe.
At that same time, competitor P&G tried introducing the popular European dry cleaning kits to Americans. Both enterprises failed and marketers seemed to think that Americans just weren't interested in new laundry ways of getting their clothes clean.
Bucking the trend, however, several companies are now offering concentrated laundry detergents and are quickly gaining market share as they create a new niche for the home laundry market. Players like P&G and Henkel are again trying new entries into this market.
Henkel's Purex Complete 3-in-1 sheets, which combine detergent and fabric softener into one laundry sheet that is put in with the wash and then also into the dryer, have brought in $100 million in sales in less than a year.
P&G has introduced new products, too, including the Tide Stain Release laundry pre-treater which gained 15 share points in barely a year (not including Walmart sales, which are higher). Another product in the same brand lineup, single-dose laundry gel packs, have also gained fast share points for P&G.
Where tablets failed a decade ago, tabs are now succeeding. Tablets were likely a loss because they were entered into the dry powder laundry segment, which has been on the decline for two decades. The new tabs are gel-filled and compete with convenience over price in the liquid detergent category. This is a much more competitive (and growing) segment of the laundry market.
The laundry market has devolved into two major segments now: Lower-priced (discounted) options and higher-priced, premium additives and convenience items. The market has become both price-competitive and more competitive in specialty items for which a premium can be charged.
Posted at 07:18 am by Peter Koeppel