The Italian laundry care market has continued to fluctuate over the past five years, registering a positive current value growth of 3% in 2012.
The development of concentrated liquid detergents was soon accompanied by the development of concentrated fabric softeners. The rationale is that consumers are using fewer products for the same number of wash loads and the products use less packaging and have lower transportation costs.
The economic crisis continued to affect consumers' decisions when purchasing laundry care products as they sought cost savings for their own household budgets and showed less demand for certain product types which are not considered essential such as categories in laundry aids.
Instead of particularly favouring cheaper alternatives such as private label products, this led to a decrease in volume, in the sense that customers rationalised their spending through buying less of the product although maintaining the average quality they were used to.
Consumers in Italy have continued shifting from powder to liquid and from standard liquid to concentrated and capsule detergents. In 2012 laundry product value sales grew by 3% whereas volume decreased by 4%.
Growth has been mainly triggered on one hand by liquid tablet detergents, introduced in 2011 and increasing in 2012 by 85% in current value sales and 81% in volume, and by the outstanding performance of concentrated liquid detergents. These growth rates generated in laundry detergents overall a 6% value increase and 5% volume decrease in 2012.
Other categories have not performed so strongly; for example, fabric softeners continued to suffer from rationalisation in volume and, even though the new concentrated formulas were appealing, not enough communication was carried out to make customers perceive the real added value of concentrated formulas, with the result being many consumers continuing to buy standard formulas but in less quantity.
In 2012, the Italian laundry care category remained highly concentrated with the first two leading companies covering a 50% value share. Thanks to its investments in innovation, advertising and thanks to a pronounced eco-orientated approach, Henkel SpA, after years of sharing the leadership with Procter & Gamble, took the sole leading position in 2012, reaching a 27% value share.
Procter & Gamble soon followed with a 23% value share, losing its leadership mainly because Dash Ecodosi, which was the first and only liquid tablet detergent product available in Italy in 2010, faced pressure when Henkel introduced the new Dixan standard and concentrated liquid formats.
For more information on the Italian laundry care market, see the latest research: Italian Laundry Care Market
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