Despite Australia's 'patchwork economy', value sales continued to increase in home care in 2012 with muted consumer confidence not necessarily reflecting actual consumer behaviour. While consumers remained determined to deleverage and save more in the wake of global economic uncertainty, real income growth across the economy allowed spending to continue relatively unhindered for the majority of consumers. In many areas such as air care and dishwashing, manufacturers continue to successfully add value through new formats and innovative product variants.
Convenience has become a major force shaping consumer decision-making in Australia, especially among the time-poor and older age groups, which increasingly see value in greater levels of convenience and ease of use. Australians have shown a willingness to pay a premium for these benefits and producers thus invested in offering added value across home care in 2012. Private label activity highlights the reality of this, with the premium-tiered private label portfolio of major retailers being under constant revision throughout the review period as major supermarkets attempted to break the stranglehold of major premium brands.
The Woolworths and Coles duopoly continued to dominate sales in 2012, with price deflation continuing to plague the major supermarkets due to intense price competition, particularly regarding „everyday‟ items. Private label brands continue to threaten the value share of established brand leaders by offering products with multiple benefits and which are convenient and cost-effective. Private label brands are also increasingly being offered by major supermarkets looking to differentiate themselves from other players in what is a highly competitive landscape dominated by multinational players.
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