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Although natural household care products will continue to be valued as healthy and sustainable options, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift in priorities for Canadian consumers concerned about the health and safety of themselves and their families. Sanitation has become a key priority. According to new research from Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, household shoppers* are prioritizing disinfection over eco-friendliness, with 66% agreeing that since COVID-19, disinfecting effectiveness is more important than eco-friendly claims.

Meghan Ross, Senior Research Analyst, Home and Beauty, Mintel said:

“Canadians are prioritizing disinfection over eco-friendliness in order to protect their homes from COVID-19, though safe and sustainable products continue to be valued. The market is expected to grow as Canadian attitudes align very well with natural brand benefits, while traditional barriers to usage, including cost, distribution, and reduced efficacy, are declining. Expect wellness to become a stronger priority across the country, creating opportunities for partnerships and crossovers with personal care brands as Canadians look for products that embrace their overall wellbeing in a holistic way. Simple steps like adding aromatherapy scents or skin-conditioning ingredients to a household product will enhance the user experience. As holistic views of health are embraced, shoppers will be expecting household and personal care products to become more intertwined.”

Convenience is key even for eco-shoppers

Nearly seven in 10 (67%) Canadian consumers agree they are always on the lookout for things that make life easier, according to Mintel Global Consumer research**, and half (47%) value time savings over environmental friendliness. Despite claiming to be environmentally friendly shoppers (57%) and being more willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly products (53%), younger consumers aged 18-34 are most likely to agree with wanting to save time over being sustainable (55%) when it comes to their household products. This highlights the importance of convenience, even among eco-friendly shoppers.

However, that’s not always the case as nearly one quarter (22%) of women disagree that time saving is more important than environmental friendliness.

“Green products cannot depend solely on their green claims as our research shows that even ‘eco-shoppers’ are willing to forgo their ideologies if it takes too much effort. Green products need to be just as convenient and easy to use as traditional household products if they are to attain widespread use. Brands should endeavour to make products that don’t force Canadians to choose between their eco goals and their desire to have chores completed with little effort. Products that offer a simple solution to a possibly monotonous chore will resonate with time-strapped consumers,” Ross continued.

Natural household products are poised for growth

While indications suggest that COVID-19’s economic impact will slow the trajectory of growth for natural household products, the category is still expected to perform well. Only 3% of natural household shoppers*** have decreased their usage of natural/eco-friendly products in the past year – with 35% claiming to use them more often – indicating a general satisfaction with these products. What’s more, Canadians value natural household products for their sustainability (76%) and safety claims (63%). Even in this poor economic climate, eco-friendly brands are expected to weather the storm relatively well since 41% of Canadians express a willingness (strongly agree/somewhat agree) to pay a premium for natural products, as they recognize the added value these brands offer.

When it comes to claims that Canadians expect from natural household products, non-toxic (62%), free-from certain ingredients (54%) and sustainably sourced (41%) are at the top of their list.

“Canadians appreciate the sustainability and safety assurances of natural brands, though even staunch environmentalists have put these priorities on the backburner as they opt for products – like disinfectants – that can help their homes stay free of COVID-19. Once the pandemic wanes, Canadians will once again seek out brands that they perceive to be good for the environment. Despite the economic downturn, many shoppers will continue to see the benefits of using natural brands and will continue to recognize their value,” concluded Ross.

*1,954 Canadian internet users aged 18+ who have purchased household products in the 12 months to July 2020
**July 2020
***1,155 Canadian internet users aged 18+ who have purchased natural or eco-friendly household products