Green household cleaning products seek mainstream acceptance

Green household cleaning products seek mainstream acceptance

Sales of green household cleaning products in the U.S grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% from 2007 and 2010.  They declined at a CAGR of 2% from 2010 to 2014. What happened?

Green Household Cleaning and Laundry Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition details how growth of the market for green household cleaners and laundry products was driven higher through 2010 by the entry of major mainstream mass marketers with green brands such as Clorox Green Works and a host of others.  They were backed by heavy marketing support and initially achieved high levels of sales, their new products purchased by many consumers who typically don’t regularly buy green products.   Established green marketers such as Seventh Generation, Method and others responded to the competition and drove the market higher with new products, increased support, and expansion of distribution into more mass retail outlets.  

As the recession hit and the economy lagged, the overall market began to slow down and then decline.  Most consumers purchased less frequently and purchased products less expensive than the typically higher-priced green versions.   Sales of mass market brands, with the exception of Purex Natural Elements, began a rapid decline that continued through 2014.    Traditional green brands such as Seventh Generation performed well over the last five years as their hard-core green consumer bases have remained loyal.  However gains by traditional green brands haven’t been able to offset the declines by mass marketers, thus the year over year market sales declines between 2010 and 2014. 

The green market is small at $600 million in 2014.   It remains a niche, accounting for about 3% of the total household cleaner and laundry product market.  Packaged Facts projects struggles will continue and the market will grow at a CAGR of only 1% in dollars to 2019.  Volume will likely decline, with increasing prices driving any dollar growth. Higher-priced traditional green brands like Seventh Generation, Method and Mrs. Meyers will drive market growth, but there are only a few brands with enough critical mass to support a substantially larger market.

Hardcore green consumers will continue to buy green cleaning products from these and other green leaders.   Since these consumers represent a relatively small part of the population, the green market will likely remain a niche for some time to come unless more consumers become regular green shoppers. American consumers are increasingly “leaning green” and most want healthier, safer choices in their foods and products they use in their homes.   However the failure and struggles of green products from mass marketers have shown that the majority of American consumers don’t want to buy green cleaners on a regular basis if they are more expensive or if effectiveness comes into question. 

On a positive note, Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent has done well by successfully convincing mainstream consumers that a value brand can be green and effective.  As Green Household Cleaning Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition notes, new private label green brands from leading retailers may succeed in further attracting mainstream consumers.  Walmart’s own brand, Great Value Naturals could have the biggest impact on the green cleaner market.  Launched in late 2013 the all-natural line of affordable cleaning, dish, and laundry products is an extension of Walmart’s hugely successful private label brand.  Time will tell if Walmart, the largest retailer by a wide margin, can succeed with affordable green cleaning products when many major mass marketers could not.  

This blog is based partially on research featured in Packaged Facts’ Green Household Cleaning and Laundry Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition.  Add this report to your own intelligence library and receive a 5% discount during our promotional period effective through July 31, 2015. Use code PFGREEN0427.

For further information on the green cleaning products industry, visit our report, The U.S. Market for Household Cleaning Products