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Trends in the category of liquid dishwashing detergents

09/02/2012 15:33

Romanian market of dishwashing detergents, dominated by international brands, seems to leave no chance to the newcomers. Even for retailers, the development of products under their own brands in such circumstances is a challenge.


Within the category of dishwashing detergents, the liquid ones are situated in the first place in the Romanians' preferences, with a share of over 82% of total market. These are followed by detergents paste and at a considerable distance by detergents for dishwashers. The share of the latter is very small, not exceeding 2% of the market volume. Atypical compared with Western European countries, but correlated with the economic situation in the country.

Liquid dishwashing detergent category is dominated by brands. Fairy and Pur are making the law and their market share, cumulated, exceeds 60% of the category. Aside from those we also found other brands such as Axion, Sano or Feya. Seen from the outside, the market looks pretty mature and already adjudicated by the companies present so far. Theoretically, launching a new brand seems a challenge. Yet, the national consumption, situated below the average of European countries, indicates sufficient growth potential. This is an opportunity that can be exploited by private brands.

Even if a retailer in its stores can make its product a leader in the category, consumer preferences for producer brands are not to be neglected. Let's not forget that behind every brand of producer there is a whole arsenal of marketing. Advertising campaigns and innovations performed periodically formed in time a consumption behavior and contributed to educating consumers. We are therefore facing a more informed consumer, with its preferences and exigencies, which retailers must take into account even since the design phase of any private brand product.


Between entry level and mainstream

First price products category remains of present interest especially in current economic conditions. For some consumers it is a saving option to personal budgets carefully handled. No wonder that more and more people are reorienting themselves towards this category. Attachment to a brand disappears when discussing about prices. On the entry level segment there is not too much innovation. Products recipes are simple and so is their packaging. Anything that could generate additional costs on the finished product is eliminated.

The first signs of innovations appeared in products within mainstream segment. The "me too" strategy works perfectly and many of the innovations introduced by producers are quickly found in a clear copy-paste in private brands. Price criterion is supplemented here by additional quality. It is a quality that is reflected both in products composition and in their packaging. Private brands are trying to offer solutions comparable to those of market leaders, at considerable cheaper prices. The strategy of some retail chains stipulates positioning these products at prices with 20-25% below those of the producer brands.

Henkel's launching of Pur Hand & Nails version in April 2009 was preceded by an extensive study among consumers. The findings have highlighted the importance they gave to protecting hands during dishwashing process. A trend that manufacturers included in the formulas of new products and which we also found in the private brands. The combination of balsam and aloe vera, designed to provide hand protection, was also used by Romanian producers.


Innovation, a way of differentiation between retail chains

In the last years environmental trend has also emerged in dishwashing detergents category. More and more environmental organizations and also private individuals militate for introducing regulations in order to reduce the impact of these products on the environment. The framework is favorable and legislative debates initiated by the European Commission took place during 2011 in the European Parliament. Products that meet environmental standards are already found in most EU countries, both as producer brands and under private brands.

For the Romanian market, ecological products can be considered a niche category. Shelf price, far above the market-leading brand, makes them inaccessible to many Romanians. And yet they are the future. Retailers that have decided to develop such projects and to include items in their current assortment opened a new path. When facing consumers that know and appreciate these products, the offer is a reason of distinguishing the retailer from other networks.


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