Brand loyalty in the UK clothes-washing product sector has become a “thing of the past” as consumers tighten belts, according to a new Mintel market report, shown exclusively to Marketing Week.
About 10.5 million shoppers ditched branded products, such as Unilever’s Persil and Procter & Gamble’s Ariel, in favour of cheaper retailer own-brand products in 2008.
Only 16% of consumers stuck to their usual brand, opting for lower prices and special offers over brand perceptions, according to the report.
P&G’s Fairy and Daz brands have been hit hardest, losing a massive 20% and 10.5% of their sales value respectively. And, as it enters its centenary year, Unilever’s Persil has dropped 3.6% of its sales value since 2006.
Despite falling sales, P&G retained its dominance over the market, with a total 47% market share. This is possibly due to its higher ad spend, calculated at 48% of the total spend for the sector. P&G particularly focused efforts on establishing Ariel’s green credentials.
Ariel’s sales value grew by 3.7% as a result, although Unilever’s Persil pipped Ariel to the post with 22% of the clothes washing detergent market share in 2008, compared with Ariel’s 20%.
P&G’s Bold rose most, with sales value increasing by 5.6% to grab 18% market share in third place.
The report also shows that marketing for laundry products has significantly shifted away from just focusing on efficacy to key messages based on guilt about responsibilities to the environment, sparked by the rise of “green-friendly” brands such as Ecover.
Unilever is planning to focus a new campaign for Persil in the UK that “taps into nostalgia” and 100 years of serving British women as it celebrates the brand’s centenary.