Retail sales of green cleaning products totaled $640 million in 2011, up from $303 million in 2007, according to Packaged Facts.
“Green Cleaning Products in the U.S.,” a report from Packaged Facts, reveals that green cleaners, which were once concentrated on the shelves of health and natural product stores, are now staples at mass-market outlets. The shift that has met with consumer approval as general merchandise stores such as Walmart and Target now lead all retail channels in total sales of green cleaners.
However, the segment faces challenges going forward, with consumer skepticism a chief cause of concern, according to Packaged Facts editor David Sprinkle. Survey data reveal that a third of consumers think green household cleaning/laundry products are less effective than regular products, a percentage that has increased since 2010.
If manufacturers and marketers want to expand the green market’s share of the total household and laundry cleaner retail market beyond the 3% it currently claims, they must convince consumers that they are not only paying more money for environmentally safe products, but also for products that are superior to traditional non-green products, he said.
Higher prices are a hurdle, but so is skepticism about product claims, so marketers need to break away from the pack in terms of consumer trust, Sprinkle said.
"With cleaning products, marketers who have truly 'green' and truly effective products need to prove both points," Sprinkle tells Marketing Daily. "The former can be done with information -- on the package, on brand Web sites, and in other marketing communications.The latter may call for more use of credible testimonials, free samples, and in-store demonstrations."
When purchasing a product with an environmental benefit, the most influential factors in their decision to buy are a symbol or certification (81%), and a message presenting specific data or outcomes (80%), he added.
The future for green cleaning products is solid, even if the growth is moderate.
Green cleaners will outperform conventional non-green cleaners due to higher price points and loyal usage by core and converted consumers, and the long-awaited upturn in the U.S. economy will accelerate growth when consumer spending regains steam.
Green cleaners clearly have their advocates. Packaged Facts’ 2012 survey data reveal that more consumers have purchased or used natural, organic, or eco-friendly household cleaning/laundry products within the previous 12 months then they did three years ago. Purchase or use of green products increased from 38% in 2009 to 41% in 2012.