Although spring cleaning is an annual event that most Brits dread, it is in fact Christmas that sees the most Brits roll up their sleeves and tackle the dust and dirt in their homes. A main reason for Christmas triggering a deep clean is home entertaining, including having guests to stay overnight during the festive period. We take a look at how Brits are preparing for the festive season…

Pre-Christmas cleaning bigger than spring cleaning

Getting out the decorations and putting up the Christmas tree often involves moving things around to make space, including cleaning corners of the living room that have not seen the light of day for the rest of the year. According to Mintel’s Preparing for Guests UK 2014 report, 37% of Brits give their homes an extra thorough clean in preparation for Christmas – which is significantly higher than the 32% who do a spring clean when the days get warmer or lighter.

Giving the home a deep clean in preparation for Christmas links strongly to home entertaining, with half of people who entertain at home spending more time than usual cleaning if they are expecting guests. Brands can therefore encourage the stocking up of cleaning products to get the home ready for guests but also remind consumer to have products they might need over the holiday period. This could include highlighting Christmas cleaning requirements such as stain removers to clear up spillages (eg red wine on carpets).

Special touches give homes the festive edge

Getting the home ready for Christmas is not just about getting the home clean, but also adding special touches to improve the ambiance of the home. The Mintel trend Sense of the Intense discusses how sensory experiences give life, brands and products deeper meaning. Household and personal care items that appeal to people’s sense of smell and touch, and also look good, cater to the three quarters of Brits who think that it is important that their home leaves a positive impression on others.

When it comes to decorating, scented household care have particular appeal – with 37% of people who have overnight guests considering specially buying air fresheners for the bathroom, 35% toilet fresheners and just over two in 10 scented candles for the living or dining room. This indicates the perfect opportunity for brands to encourage trading up to premium scents.

It also presents the opportunity for household paper brands to encourage increased purchasing through emphasising the need to make sure those hosting at Christmas have enough toilet tissue, kitchen roll, napkins and tissues to see them through to New Year. Promoting the purchase of boxes of tissues for communal rooms and guests bedrooms could help boost sales.

Other little finishing touches in preparing the home for Christmas entertaining might include purchasing luxury hand washes or lotions for the bathroom, using fresheners on carpets or upholstery or adding fresheners to bedrooms. First Natural Brands, for example, has just launched the Tisserand ‘Inspired by National Trust’ range of aromatherapy scented linen sachets for freshening linen and clothing drawers.

Brands or retailers offering household care products can therefore promote getting the home ready for Christmas through encouraging both an extra thorough deep clean at the time people put their Christmas tree and decorations up, as well as the stocking up of products to see them through to New Year. With a high proportion of people wanting guests to get a positive impression of the home, trading up and the purchasing of little extras can also be encouraged, especially products that appeal to people’s sense of smell and touch and add ambiance to create the perfect Christmas at home experience.

Richard Caines is Senior Household Analyst at Mintel and researches and writes Mintel’s Household Care reports. He has also worked as a Senior Analyst on Mintel’s household retail reports. Before Richard joined Mintel in 1998, he was Senior Editor at Key Note, a publisher of market information reports.

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