Dusters at dawn – the guests are arriving

May 7, 2009

While many of us are prepared to live in splendid squalor, latest research from Mintel finds nothing is more likely to bring on a cleaning splurge than a visit from our friends or relatives.
Over 46 million Brits have at least one household chore they hate doing, and as many as 10 million of us loathe any form of housework altogether. A hatred of cleaning, coupled with the self-reassurance that we prefer the ‘lived-in’ look, means that for 23 million people (56%), the arrival of visitors is the biggest prompt to clean the home. In fact, there is nothing more likely to send the nation’s dusters in to a tizzy than an unexpected visitor, with as many as a third (33%) of us admitting to being embarrassed when a guest arrives without warning. What is more, competition for cleanliness is tense among Britain’s house-proud households, with a quarter (26%) of women sensitive to the fact that other people’s homes always seem to be cleaner and tidier than their own.
“While the lived in look is sufficient for our immediate family, there is no doubt that many Brits are intent on keeping up appearances for friends and neighbours. There is a definite element of competition among women in terms of the cleanliness of the home, and for many, there is nothing worse than an unexpected visit when their house is in less than perfect shape. ” comments Alexandra Richmond, Senior Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care.
The top three most hated tasks for Brits are cleaning the oven, almost two thirds (64%) of us dread this task, followed by ironing (56%) and cleaning the windows (39%).
“Non-daily jobs such as cleaning the oven and cleaning the windows are amongst the nation’s most loathed chores. With just one in seven (15%) of us having a cleaning routine, for many, the jobs build up to such a degree that chores such as cleaning the oven or the bathroom become totally unpleasant and overwhelming. There is no doubt that preventing the back-log or sharing the chore would make these tasks seem less daunting. ” adds Alexandra.
Today, almost half of women go out to work, nevertheless, the role of housework is still more likely to fall to them. Despite the age of equality, some 47% of all women are resigned to the fact that keeping their home clean and tidy is their responsibility. Meanwhile, less than a fifth of men (18%) are of the same view. In fact, juggling work, family and domestic chores means that almost four in ten (37%) women are overwhelmed by the housework, compared to just over a quarter (26%) of men. While only a minority (4%) believe that cleaning is a woman’s job, men (13%) are far more likely than women (4%) to leave the cleaning to someone else to do.
“The fact that men take on a more relaxed attitude towards household cleaning may not necessarily be due to laziness, it may be simply down to the fact that women find it harder to relax in messier surroundings. ” comments Alexandra.
Valued at nearly £4.4 billion, the UK market for household cleaning products has seen steady growth (17%) since 2003. The overall growth rate within the market masks a weak performance from certain sectors, notably clothes-washing detergents, which increased just 6% over the same 5 year period. By contrast, there has been strong growth in aircare, with value sales growth of 38%. Much of this growth is owing to the crossover into ambience creation. People have shown that they are prepared to spend more on products that avoid getting their hands dirty with dishwasher products now worth more than hand dishwashing detergents.

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