Saptarshi Banerjee
Based in Mumbai, Saptarshi provides trends and observations to help local and global clients better understand Indian consumers' psyche. Prior to joining Mintel, Saptarshi has worked with various market research agencies across FMCG, healthcare, media and technology space.

The notion that women should shoulder the majority of domestic responsibilities is still widely held in most of India, but that may be changing: 60% of Indian men say they want to do household chores to reduce the burden on their spouse/family members, according to Mintel research. However, 32% of men find chores difficult and 34% lack confidence in using household cleaning products.

To overcome such barriers, here are some ways brands can encourage men’s participation in household chores:

Share tricks and tips for doing household chores more efficiently and effectively

While this sounds obvious, nearly half (49%) of Indian men want practical advice on how to make household chores easier, and the need is particularly noticeable among men aged 25 to 44 (53%). This presents an opportunity for brands to take a more active role in assisting men in this aspect.  

For example, brands can create more advertisements and use social media platforms such as YouTube to raise awareness about how male consumers can share household chores. Advertisements and brand promotions can also include tips and guidance on how to use household products. Surf Excel Matic’s commercial features a father and son who, after the son spills ketchup on his shirt, demonstrate how easy it is to remove a stain by simply performing the action “pour, rub, pour”.

Surf Excel Matic‘s commercial (Source: YouTube)

Increase the availability of gender-neutral homecare solutions

The perception of household products as too feminine limits male consumers’ desire to do housework; 41% of younger Millennials (aged 25-31) believe this is the case. This perception can be attributed to the fact that household product imagery generally depicts women, and packaging and advertising tend to focus more on women of the house.

Brands can increase gender neutrality in their positioning and advertising of household products to overcome this barrier. For example, the Llyod Unisex Washing Machine ad depicts laundry as a gender-neutral activity.

Llyod Unisex Washing Machine ad (source: Twitter)

Furthermore, the desire of men to care for their spouse and family members provides an opportunity for brands to highlight the benefits of equal household chore distribution. Brands can demonstrate household chores as an act of caring – shifting away from the stereotypical gender role of a woman caring for her husband and the family’s health. This also opens up the possibility of men being the decision maker in purchasing household products, thus expanding a brand’s consumer base.

Promote health benefits of doing household chores

43% of men, particularly working adults aged over 25, say that maintaining physical fitness is an important motivator for them to do household chores. Brands can tap into male consumers’ fitness needs by emphasising how using the product while performing a specific physical household task is a healthy activity. This applies to products that require a certain amount of strength and energy, such as cleaning activities.

UN Women’s #HeForShe movement launched the #HeForSheAtHome campaign in 2020 to invite men to share how they are stepping up to do their equal share of housework. The campaign also included an informative graphic incentivising housework through health benefits.

UN Women #HeForSheAtHome campaign (Source: Instagram)

What we think

The conversations about the burden of household work have increased since the start of the pandemic, and brands see themselves having a role to play in shaping perceptions of gender equality at home. As consumers gradually return to some level of normalcy and hybrid work becomes prevalent across many industries, brands can continue to engage men by highlighting the importance of gender balance at home. Given that men did not grow up in a social structure that trained them to do chores, it is clear that they require assistance as they learn the skills and discover enjoyment in doing it.