While rising consumer hygiene-consciousness would seem to offer opportunities for the development of bleach, the increasing emphasis on convenience and ease-of-use amongst time-starved consumers is having a negative impact on the category’s development. With manufacturers incorporating germ elimination functions into convenient, easy-to-use products across surface care, bleach is increasingly seen as old-fashioned product and the category is set to experience ongoing decline over the forecast period.
The diversification of home care products and increasing consumer use of convenient products from categories such as kitchen cleaners and bathroom cleaners is further impacting sales of bleach by undermining its use in laundry tasks. This is a key area of bleach usage, as the product is used to sanitise fabric wiping cloths that may come into contact with potentially harmful microbes while cleaning surfaces such as kitchen worktops and dining tables.
The broader health and wellness trend that underpins increasing consumer awareness of hygiene also has the potential to undermine sales in bleach, as consumers become concerned about the impact of chemicals on human health. In addition, in many markets, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the effect of such chemicals on the environment, providing another potential obstacle to the category’s development.
Kao continues to dominate bleach in Japan. The company’s Haiter brand is strongly associated with bleach in the minds of consumers and Kao also uses it in colour-safe laundry bleach and kitchen cleaners.
Private label’s share of bleach sales rose over the review period, as price-based competition intensified. Strong price-based competition is supported by the fact that bleach is a highly commodified category with relatively little brand loyalty and limited potential for innovation, with new product developments tending to incorporate similar functionality in more sophisticated products categorised in areas such as kitchen cleaners and bathroom cleaners.
After Lion Corp withdrew from the category in 2015, the only branded player remaining in the category other than Kao at the end of the review period was Kaneyo Soap Co. The main reason for this very consolidated competitive environment is that bleach is perceived to offer little potential to generate significant profits because of its commodity status, low average unit price and falling demand.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Home Care market research database.