The German market for household care products registered a growth of 3.5% in 2010. Innovation, sustainability, and a positive performance in individual sub-segments drove the market.
The household care market is very consolidated and dominated by a few major players such as Henkel, Proctor & Gamble, and Reckitt Benckiser, who together hold a share of 50% of the German market. Private label products make up approximately 32%. U.S. companies interested in entering the German market should therefore offer innovative products at competitive pricing; a professional market entry concept and sufficient funding are essential.
In 2010, sales for household care products amounted to EUR 4.3 billion in Germany, up 3.5% over 2009. Per-capita spending reached EUR 53, a slight increase of EUR 2. The number of people employed in the industry remained stable at around 45,000.
With sales exceeding EUR 1.13 billion, universal laundry detergents continued to be the leading product group within the household care market. Among the laundry care sub-sectors (tablets, powder, liquids, bars, hand wash), liquid detergents were main growth drivers in 2010, while sales of concentrates and tabs lost decreased.
With sales exceeding EUR 804 million in 2010, a modest growth of 0.9% over 2009, household cleaners ranked second within the overall household care products market. The positive performance was mainly attributable to growing specialty cleaners and toilet care segments.
Sales of dishwashing products (hand and machine wash) grew by 2.7%, to EUR 678 million. As a result of an increasing number of households in Germany owning dishwashers - sales of dishwashers grew by 4.4% in 2010, with a market penetration of currently 67% - growth was especially stimulated by sales of automatic dishwasher products (+4.6%).
Laundry aids continued their good performance in 2010, recording a sales increase of 4%, to EUR 581 million. The positive performance was mainly attributable to growth in the laundry softener sub-segment. Other maintenance products, such as special cleaning and care agents, generated sales of EUR 454 million, a plus of 8.6% over 2009. While other sub-segments in this category mostly stagnated, air fresheners and room fragrances performed positively, indicating the increasing importance of well-being and pleasant ambience in the home.
Major trends in the German market for household care products are similar to some of those in the overall consumer market: a trend to homing and in-home consumption; time saving and convenience products; innovation; and sustainability. An ongoing demographic change towards an increasing number of oneperson and two-person households over the next 15 to 20 years will continue to influence buying behavior in this industry.
Convenience is still a key trend in the household care market. Consumers are willing to purchase valueadded products that enabled swift and effective cleaning. As part of a long-term shift in consumer lifestyles, including an increasing number of working women, products that offer convenience and ease of use have performed well in recent years. Liquids in laundry care and wipes in furniture care, for instance, showed growth as consumers sought ways to make cleaning less of a chore.
Eco-friendly products continue to be successful in Germany. Werner & Mertz GmbH, for example, a medium-sized market player, managed to capitalize on its green and eco-friendly image with their highly successful “Frosch” brand. After a re-launch of the brand in 2001, the products succeeded in moving away from a more conservative ecological image towards one of trendy convenience products, with the added value of being eco-friendly.
Following Hoffmans’ launch of Vanish Oxi Action, oxygen-based products project the image of a strong but non-toxic cleaning agent, and continue to be favored by German consumers. Initially, the high demand and popularity of these products led to relatively high average retail prices. As a result of the growing market share of private label products in this segment however, the average price of oxygenbased products have leveled over the last years.