Millennials wary disinfectants destroy ‘good’ bacteria

August 3, 2017

While tidying up around the house is part of the average American’s weekly routine, younger consumers have a more holistic approach when it comes to completing the chore. Mintel cleaning the house US market report reveals that Millennials (aged 23-40) who clean their homes are skeptical about using disinfectants driven by concerns about destroying ‘good’ bacteria (61 percent), compared to just half (49 percent) of consumers overall. Furthering their interest in ‘friendly’ bacteria, some 67 percent of Millennials say they are willing to try probiotic cleaners, nearly double (36 percent) the amount of Baby Boomers (aged 53-71) who say the same.

While Millennials are motivated to protect ‘good’ bacteria, overall, the majority of Americans are motivated to clean simply because it is part of their routine (62 percent), while half of consumers clean in preparation for guests or in response to unsightly dirt/grime (50 percent respectively). Nearly all US housecleaners agree that cleaning prevents germs from spreading (88 percent) and helps them stay healthy (81 percent).

Ingredient awareness has become a top concern among consumers, with nearly four in five (79 percent) of those who clean their homes agreeing it is important that cleaning products list their ingredients, rising to 83 percent of Millennials. These younger consumers are also more likely to agree (72 percent) that cleaning products with natural ingredients are safer than products with conventional ingredients, compared to 67 percent of housecleaners overall.

“With young housecleaners showing interest in protecting the ‘good’ bacteria found in their home, cleaning products with fewer ingredients, as well as alternatives to disinfectants, such as probiotics, have an advantage when targeting this key demographic. Clear labeling improves transparency for consumers who may choose products based on ingredients, eco-friendliness, free-from, or fewer ingredients overall. A key challenge may come in balancing important attributes like robustness and time savings, while limiting overall ingredients used,” said Stephen Brown, Household Analyst at Mintel.

In 2017, Americans report spending 3.75 hours per week cleaning, compared to 4.6 hours per week in 2013
The desire to keep a clean home runs parallel to the need for time-saving for many Americans as evident in the fact that the amount of time consumers say they personally spend cleaning* each week has declined in the last four years. In 2017, Americans report spending 3.75 hours per week cleaning, compared to 4.6 hours per week in 2013.

The nearly four hours Americans spend cleaning on a weekly basis supports the popularity of cleaning products that offer added convenience. Mintel research reveals that the majority (63 percent) of housecleaners say they often clean alone, highlighting a need for convenience to make the process quick and painless. In fact, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) housecleaners say they are willing to pay more for cleaning products that save time/labor, rising to 76 percent of Millennials.

For many, preventative products may be the key to convenience as 62 percent say they are willing to pay more for cleaning products that extend the time between cleans, including three-quarters (72 percent) of Millennials. It seems there’s plenty of opportunity for innovation in the household cleaning market when it comes to convenience as just eight percent of surface cleaners launched in the US in 2016 had dirt repellent properties, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

“Housecleaning is an independent task for many, highlighting the importance of products that simplify the process, reduce steps or make it more enjoyable. Cleaning products that protect surfaces from future spills, mold or rust may gain appeal among younger housecleaners, especially when paired with targeted messaging that highlights time savings,” concluded Brown.

*Eg tidying up, cleaning the kitchen/bathroom, mopping/sweeping

Press copies of Mintel’s Cleaning the House US 2017 report and interviews with Stephen Brown, Household Analyst, are available on request from the Press Office.

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