Growth in household has been driven by deals and by shoppers splashing out on super-strength premium lines

The big brands have ramped up promotional activity in 2009 in a big effort to encourage consumers to trade up to premium brands such as SCJ’s Toilet Duck Discs, launched late 2008, and P&G’s Fairy Platinum, unveiled early 2009.

SCJ spectacularly bucked the downward sales trend in toilet care and bleach, which consumers clearly regard as a discretionary spend in the downturn – unlike the other household categories, which all enjoyed value growth. Own-label growth was ahead of the category average in the aircare, surface cleaner and hand dishwash categories, but auto dishwash was very much the preserve of the brands, with Reckitt Benckiser’s Finish brand doing phenomenally well – at the expense of own label.

The categories that saw the best overall growth were surface cleaners and hand dishwash products – sales of which were up 6.8% and 4.9% respectively.

Surface cleaners performed strongly as consumers sought to minimise the risk of spreading the swine flu virus and analysts put the dishwash categories’ growth down to a combination of “increasing promotional intensity” and the fact people were eating in more.

Top launch: Harpic Power Plus Max Coverage, Reckitt Benckiser
They’re a macho bunch, these cleaning products – Flash, Bang and Mr Muscle. And in March this year, they were joined by ‘Harpic Power Plus Max Coverage’ – a toilet cleaner that offers “the ultimate answer to tough stain removal”, claims Reckitt Benckiser in typically butch language.

The range has performed well since launch, according to the company, and has helped the Harpic brand to 3.6% growth in a declining category.

Top Products Survey 2009