Whilst price sensitivity to commoditised home care products remained, Japanese consumers were increasingly embracing products with value-added properties such as the improved scent features in air care, the antibacterial features in laundry care and the increased convenience in home insecticides. These factors led to an overall increase in retail value sales for home care products in 2012.
Many consumers in Japan increasingly see scent as a key feature that offers instant home entertainment. Whilst the scent trend originally had positive impacts on air care over the past few years, this affected more widely home care categories such as fabric softeners and laundry detergents in laundry care, driving the value sales upwards. This also let home care manufacturers focus on scent features in their product development in 2012.
Scent has become increasingly established as a way for consumers to enjoy their everyday life. In this sense, scent is turning itself away from a short-lived trend into a long-term trend with the large success of Downy in 2008.
Within tighter budgetary constraints on home care products, consumers find scented home care products as cheaper alternatives to perfume or aromatherapy sets, and companies consider this as a way to distinguish themselves from other commoditised air care products, and then this provides them with a good reason to charge higher prices.
Therefore, this trend had a positive impact on the wider environment of home care products and will continue to reshape the direction of product development in the future.
Kao Corp secured its leading position in the Japanese home care environment in 2012. The company's leadership came from a wide brand portfolio that maintained the leading position in many home care categories such as surface care, bleach, laundry care, polishes and dishwashing.
The competitive landscape in laundry care became more intense with the continued development of concentrated liquid detergents to compete with rivals such as Lion Corp and Procter & Gamble Japan KK. The company's introduction of Attack Neo Bio EX Power in 2012 featuring antibacterial and bleaching power helped the company to maintain the leading position in 2012.
The Japanese home care market is expected to see positive growth through to 2017. Over the last five years, consumers demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for products that offer additional benefits and this is likely to continue.
Hence, manufacturers will find growth by increasing the value proposition of existing products through product qualities such as scent features, hygienic benefits and convenience, such as in liquid detergents in laundry care and care air fresheners in air care.
For more information on the Japanese home care market, see the latest research: Japanese Home Care Market
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