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The Dirt On Cleaning: Men Do More Than You Think

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Dust and stains remain unavoidable adversaries for consumers worldwide. It's not surprising, then, that we spend a significant amount of time trying to keep our homes and clothes fresh and clean.

In Nielsen's new Global Survey examining home cleaning and laundry habits, nearly one-third of global respondents (31%) say they clean every day, and the same percentage (31%) say they do laundry daily, but cultural tradition, product availability, innovation and financial considerations mean that the tools of the trade are different around the world.


Today, 44 percent of respondents say the female head of household does the majority of cleaning. But that's not to say men aren't sharing in the load, as 17 percent of respondents say men do the majority of cleaning. Globally, 28 percent say house cleaning is a shared responsibility between the two heads of the household.

Responsibility for product purchasing largely mirrors who is doing the cleaning—with even greater female influence. More than half of global respondents (51%) say the female head of household buys the majority of cleaning products, nearly one-quarter (23%) say it's a shared responsibility and slightly fewer (21%) say the male head of household is responsible for the majority of purchasing

"The perception that home care is only women's work is inaccurate," saidSarah Peters, Nielsen Global Business Partner. "The female head of household remains a key stakeholder in the cleaning process in many homes, but as more men play an active role in housework, marketing strategies need to reflect a more balanced approach—from product innovations to marketing messages. This will require a deeper understanding of how each gender approaches the task of cleaning and where gaps in current offerings may exist."   


Modern retailers come out on top in every region as the self-reported place to purchase cleaning products. More than three-quarters (77%) of global respondents say they purchased household cleaning products from a large retail chain (such as a mass merchandiser or hypermarket) in the past 12 months.

E-commerce is an important channel inAsia-Pacific. Thirty-seven percent of respondents in this region say they have purchased household-cleaning supplies from an online retailer in the past 12 months, compared with 23 percent globally. Online shopping is particularly popular among online respondents inIndia(48%),China(43%) and South Korea(43%).

"Distribution is the top driver of product trial, and it is positively correlated with product volume," said Peters. "Presently, e-commerce accounts for only a small share of household products sales, but it is growing rapidly, particularly inAsia. As increasing economic prosperity in the region drives sales of household cleaners, establishing and maintaining strong relationships with both brick-and-mortar and pure-play online retailers will be important for capitalizing on this growth."

Respondents inAsia-Pacificare also inclined to shop at traditional stores. Four in 10 respondents in the region say they've purchased cleaning products from a small, family-owned shop during the past 12 months, 10 percentage points above the global average.


It should come as no surprise that efficiency and value top the list of most important attributes in a home cleaning product. Sixty-one percent of global respondents say performance (it cleans well) is very important when selecting a household cleaning product. In addition, more than half (54%) say good price/value is very important. Connected with efficacy are previous experience and trust. Four in 10 global respondents say previous experience is very important when selecting household-cleaning products, while slightly fewer (37%) say a trusted brand name is very important.

Secondary attributes should not be overlooked. Nearly three in 10 respondents say packaging that is easy to use or store (29%) or that comes in a size that fits their family's needs (28%) is very important. In addition, some consumers are leaning green. Twenty-six percent of global respondents say organic/all-natural ingredients are very important, and 24 percenty say environmentally friendly/sustainable packaging is very important.

Consumers purchasing laundry detergent also list performance as a top attribute when making a choice—59 percent say they seek detergents that are best at getting stains out. More than half (54%) say they look for high-efficiency products (i.e., products that require less water), and 46% say they're looking for detergents they can use on multiple types of items. Over one-third (35%) of global respondents say they seek detergents that don't contain harsh chemicals and slightly fewer (32%) want environmentally friendly detergents.


The Nielsen Global Homecare Survey was conductedAug. 10 - Sep. 4, 2015and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries throughoutAsia-Pacific,Europe,Latin America, theMiddle East/Africaand North America. The sample includes internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country.