Slowly but steadily gaining momentum as a trend, the consumer quest for more sustainable lifestyles has fueled growth in the U.S. market for green products. Among the beneficiaries of continued consumer interest in "going green" is the market for eco-friendly cleaning products, including household surface cleaners and laundry products.
"Green Cleaning Products in the U.S.," a recently-released report from Packaged Facts, reveals that retail sales of green cleaning products totaled $640 million in 2011, up from $303 million in 2007. Once concentrated on the shelves of health and natural product stores, green cleaners are now staples at mass-market outlets–a 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.
The future for green cleaning products is solid, even if the growth trajectory will be moderate, according to Packaged Facts editor David Sprinkle. 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. Nevertheless, this is a segment that faces challenges going forward, with consumer skepticism a chief cause of concern. Packaged Facts' 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. This effort includes transparency and the educating of consumers about not only what green cleaners can do, but also about what ingredients they contain.[Source: "Green Cleaning Products in the U.S." Packaged Facts. 10 Sept 2012. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.]