According to Euromonitor, which tracks home care wipes and floor cleaning systems together, sales for the category reached $3.2 billion in constant value (U.S. dollars, 2014 fixed exchange rate) last year, recording only marginal growth over the previous year. “Forecast ahead also remains quite modest overall, at projected 1% CAGR in constant value over 2014-2019, mainly due to slow expected sales in the developed markets, although some of the emerging markets are expected to see impressive growth (e.g. China) but from a very small base in actual value,” says Svetlana Uduslivaia, head of tissue & hygiene industry, Euromonitor.
Despite this marginal growth in household wipes/floor cleaning systems group, contract manufacturer Rockline Industries of Sheboygan, WI, has high hopes for the home care wipes portion of the category, specifically disinfecting wipes. “The disinfecting wipes category is one of the strongest, fasting growing categories today,” says Dave Deising, Rockline’s vice president, North American Retail Products. “In the disinfecting category, I think people are very comfortable using disinfecting wipes and like the convenience of them, and that category has been growing exceptionally well. And private label in it is the fastest grower.”
As Rockline continues to upgrade and improve private label products, the enhanced wipes are performing to customers’ expectations, Deising explains. Also driving the disinfecting category is the fact that the use of wipes is increasing, and consumers are buying multipacks. “There’s a huge trend for consumers to buy more than one canister. People are buying two, three, four, and there’s even five packs available. So it’s really a common item that people want to buy in quantity and store throughout the household,” he says.
According Robert Boyer, national accounts manager for contract manufacturer Kleen Test Products Corporation of Port Washington, WI, some of the categories that have potential for growth in home care are wipes that contain bleach, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Niche applications, such as granite or stainless steel wipes, are another area with potential, he adds.
Wipes industry consultant Susan Stansbury says she sees room for growth and innovation in the household wipes market, saying new categories within the segment can move the market.
“Product developers are looking at every aspect of household tasks to find where wipes can offer convenience and results,” she says. “If you look at competing products such as paper towels, napkins and tissue, you see that even these long standing items continue to bring out new packaging, towels with built-in soap and ways to capture new attention. When under-the-sink canisters had a designer packaging update with an option to put the product on the countertop, more wipes were bound to be used. When packages use less plastic, better sealed lids and appealing graphics, it also propels buying decisions, especially in this era of ‘self branding’ your lifestyle and home decor.”
Also, at the recent Converters Expo, Stansbury heard manufacturers say “business is picking up” in the household wipes category.
Innovation Keeps it Growing
To ensure the category continues to grow, manufacturers throughout the supply chain must continue to innovate and not just meet, but also exceed, shoppers’ expectations, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Kleen Test’s Boyer says innovation in the category is extremely important. “KTP has invested a significant amount into our development labs and support staff to ensure we remain on the leading edge of wipes development,” he says. “We are always looking at new technologies to help our customers expand their product lines to support growth of their brand.”
For Rockline, innovation is primarily focused on improving the substrate through the strength and texture, with the final outcome being a product that offers good cleaning on the surface with some absorbency. One of the company’s most recent upgrades was to its wet floor wipes. “At one point, the private label products were quite a bit behind the brand Swiffer, and so we’ve upgraded the performance to be more brand-like. It’s [now] a multi-layer product with great absorbency and great floor coverage,” Deising explains.
He points to one area in particular that is rife with opportunity. “The private label category is now providing products that are similar [to Swiffer] and have the opportunity to grow the private label part of the business,” he says. “That’s just in its beginning phases. There’s no question that in the cleaning category there’s plenty of innovation. It’s the construction of the materials, it’s the fiber of the materials, it’s the formulation being used. Low streak, better coverage, better cleaning ability—this all comes from the formulation. So it’s actually a very active category in total.”
From the nonwovens perspective, Finnish producer Suominen Corporation is seeing diversification in wipes, especially coming out of the European market. “[This is] not just in lotions and additives but also in the different functionalities required from the nonwoven substrate,” says Alistair Brown, director of marketing and communications, Suominen. “This diversification has been led by the U.S. market in the past, but Europe is catching up.”
To help strengthen the company’s product organization, Suominen recently hired John Ardent as the product manager for household and baby care at the company. Ardent, who previously worked for Nice-Pak and Kimberly-Clark, will work closely with the sales, product management and product development teams in the Convenience business area of Suominen.
Top Brands Partner with Celebs
Swiffer (P&G) and Clorox hold the top spots in the home care wipes and floor cleaning systems category, at a 37.1% and 11.4% marketshare, respectively, according to Euromonitor. While both companies continue to invest in their products, they also recently put some extra bucks toward celebrity endorsements.
In March, Clorox introduced Clorox Triple Action Dust Wipes, which can grab and hold onto an entire room’s worth of dust, hair and allergens. Using its unique interlocking weave with strong clinging power, the dry, non-abrasive wipes are safe to use throughout the home on electronics, furniture, floors, baseboards, blinds and more. The wipes launched in January alongside other new products from Clorox including Pump ‘N Clean for kitchen and bathroom and ScrubSingles, flexible, disposable pads preloaded with Clorox cleaners.
To promote the new products, Clorox teamed up with former Knight Rider and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. Clorox, Hasselhoff and Homejoy, a platform that connects customers with cleaning professionals, ran a contest in March—to win a #HassleOffDay—that gave New Yorkers a chance to have their home cleaned by the actor with the new Clorox products and Homejoy’s professional cleaners.
“The Hoff is always ready for heroic action, but when it comes to cleaning, I leave it to the real experts,” Hasselhoff said during the announcement. “I’m excited to help Clorox and Homejoy during #HassleOffDay to give people a chance to experience hassle-free cleaning with me!”
Regarding the brand’s new products, Dana Ginsburg, associate marketing director for The Clorox Company, said, “We know multitasking is a way of life for many people as they work to manage the multitude of tasks and responsibilities on their plates. Clorox’s innovations help people tackle messes in an easy way so people they don’t have to break the flow of their day for the real clean they expect.”
While the popular brand Swiffer hasn’t released a new product since its Sweep & Trap launched in February 2014, select products in the brand recently earned certifications as asthma and allergy friendly. Swiffer Dry Dusters and Sweepers, Unscented, have been certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases.
The certified products include the Swiffer Dry Sweeper, Unscented, which are dry cloths that trap and lock dust and up to 70% of inanimate allergens from pet dander and dust mite matter, which is two times more than a typical dusting cloth. Also certified are Swiffer’s Duster and Duster 360°, Unscented. Thousands of flexible, fluffy fibers in the Duster and Duster 360° trap and lock dust and up to 70% of inanimate allergens from pollen, pet dander and dust mite matter. This is two times more than a typical dusting cloth and three times more than a feather duster. A product from P&G’s Febreze brand also received a certification.
To help spread the word on the subject, the brand enlisted Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of ABC’s Modern Family TV show, who is a self-proclaimed cleaning fanatic, according to a statement. He joined the brands in a “spring-tervention” to help people clean more effectively when it comes to the reduction of inanimate allergens in their home.
“Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a bit of a micro-manager when it comes to housekeeping. I don’t like piles, I don’t like clutter and I don’t like dust. People may say I’m a neat freak, but I wear it as a badge of honor; I’m happiest when things are in order. I’m obsessed with cleaning my home and my trailer on the set of Modern Family, so when I learned from the folks at AAFA that I was cleaning wrong and actually stirring up the allergens instead of removing them, I stopped to listen,” Ferguson said at the time of the announcement. “Now, there are select asthma & allergy friendly products from Febreze and Swiffer that help reduce allergens in the home, which is especially important to me when the seasons change. The most eye-opening thing to me was that I was forgetting my windows and couches in my cleaning regimen, where tons of allergens collect. It’s my own personal spring-tervention, people!”
Mike Tringale, senior vice president of external affairs at AAFA, added, “With all of the misconceptions about how to properly reduce inanimate allergens in the home, we are proud to certify these three Swiffer and Febreze products as asthma & allergy friendly. Using the right tools, cleaning the proper way and staying on top of daily allergen removal can really help to make a healthier home.”
P&G is trying to further tackle the male demographic—particularly dads—by also recruiting actor Anthony Anderson—star of the ABC TV show black-ish—in a marketing campaign promoting the brand’s new #SwifferDad docu-style video. The video showcases a modern perspective on the evolving roles in the home, from the perspective of real dads and their kids.
A Germaphobe’s Dream
While the Reckitt Benckiser brand Lysol falls in fourth place (behind the Kao Corp. brand Quickle) when it comes to global brand names in the category—with a 5.7% market share—the well-known brand has some successful wipes products under its belt. Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes are designed to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria throughout the home, including Influenza A Virus (H1N1), Human Coronavirus, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1. The wipes also remove more than 95% of allergens such as pet dander, dust mite debris and pollen particles. Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes can be used on hard surfaces such as counter tops, sinks, door knobs, telephones, toilet seats and more. The Dual Action Disinfecting wipes differ as the product has different uses on each side—one side has built-in fibers for tough messes and the other side is meant for touch-up cleaning.
New Wipes Spotted
A new wipe on the market is from Zep Inc., a consumable chemical packaged goods company that manufactures high-performance maintenance and cleaning chemicals. The company launched Zep Commercial Instant Spot Remover Towels in December.
According to the company, the new wipes quickly and easily remove tough stains on carpet and upholstery and are ideal for home or office use. They can remove stains from oil, food, pets, grease, tar, and more. Each canister contains 45 oversized, 7 X12 inch dual-texture heavy-duty towels that help break down and remove tough stains completely from carpets and upholstery. The protective canister keeps unused towels fresh and moist.
“Instant Spot Remover Towels are just another example of how Zep is making life easier for both professionals and consumers to clean up even the worst messes quickly and easily,” says Joe Seladi, group president of Zep Inc. Zep Commercial Instant Spot Remover Towels are currently available in over 1300 Home Depot stores in the U.S.