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Chicago (April 10, 2013)-When it comes to cleaning…time is of the essence, especially with the spring cleaning season in full swing. Overall, the household surface cleaners market has been quite stagnant, only growing 2% from 2007 to 2012. But, within this market, some segments are outpacing the rest, particularly those that offer quick and convenient cleaning options. According to recent Mintel research on household surface cleaners, more than half (57%) of respondents say they would pay more for products that make cleaning faster and 53% say a product with suitability for a wide range of surfaces is very important. In addition, nearly half (48%) of people say a fast-acting product is very important to them, while 46% think a product that reduces steps in a common cleaning task is very important.

“Although budget remains a concern, consumers are not willing to compromise on certain attributes of their surface cleaners,” says John Owen, senior household analyst at Mintel. “While cleaning results are as important as ever, consumers also value surface cleaners that make cleaning quick and easy, and that seems to be more important than just a low price.”

Mintel research also found that in addition to reduced cleaning time, disinfection is becoming more important in and out of the home. More than seven in 10 (71%) consumers agree at least somewhat that disinfection has become more important to them and just over one-quarter (27%) agree strongly. Microbes have become a more top-of-mind concern among consumers in recent years, even more so in recent months with the particularly heavy flu season.

It seems concern about germs isn’t limited to the home. More than half (56%) of those who have purchased household cleaners say they are more concerned about cleanliness and germs away from home, like in the car or at work or school. This opens up a growth opportunity for car- and office-sized antibacterial cleaners.

While interest in germ-killing and disinfection remains strong, it is counterbalanced by underlying concern about the safety of products that kill germs, especially in homes where young children reside. Some 56% of all adults are concerned about the healthfulness of cleaning product ingredients. Currently, just 13% of housecleaners agree strongly that environmentally friendly surface cleaners are as effective as conventional cleaners- but there is opportunity for natural cleaners with disinfecting power.

“Factors such as natural ingredients and packages made from recycled materials are less likely to be rated very important, but they can nonetheless be points of difference to consumers, as long as their expectations for cleaning performance and convenience are met first,” concludes John Owen.