Shoppers are really cutting down on household cleaning products, but - having spent £381m in the past year on aircare products - at least their homes will smell nice.

Aided by the launch of a piece of standout innovation in its Air Wick Odour Detect (see below), market leader Reckitt Benckiser this year threw £10m behind its Air Wick range, boosting sales by a healthy 6.9% to £112.5m. But Febreze is also making a strong play in a category where out-of-season promotions have also played a part.

Air Wick Odour DetectReckitt Benckiser
Don’t take it personally if it goes off when you walk into the room: Reckitt Benckiser’s newest aircare offering doesn’t distinguish between pleasant and unpleasant smells. It merely detects rapid changes in odour levels. Using the latest in ‘aircare’ technology, the automatic spray with odour sensor capabilities is designed to release a burst of fragrance when the smell in a room changes. The boffins have even come up with a Mulled Wine & Cinnamon Apple scent for Christmas. Nice.

The biggest strides outside aircare were made by another RB name: Dettol. A 15.5% leap in value nudged its surface cleaner into second place, at the expense of Cif.

Fairy continues to increase its lead at the top of the hand dishwash table, thanks to a combination of factors, says Richard Jorden, commercial director at DCS Europe. “Above all, it is due to an aggressive promotional strategy by retailers using the brand to win sales and loyalty. For this strategy to be effective, though, you have to have the momentum of a big brand.”

Fairy has made ground in auto dishwash, too, but Finish, despite a dip in sales, is some way ahead. The RB brand aims to further consolidate its lead through a recent revamp and the November launch of reformulated Finish Quantum.

Top Products Survey 2011: Heroes and Hurdles