After all the excitement and growth in the market following the hugely successful launch of Persil Tablets, this year has been relatively uneventful. Sales are down, mainly because manufacturers have been phasing out the more expensive concentrated products. In addition, while consumers might have felt they were using too much of the concentrated powders, they might now be tending to underdose. Tablets have overtaken liquids in terms of sales and are beginning to steal share from standard powders. Initially, tablets were perceived as an upmarket product but they are beginning to cannibalise sales of the standard powder. Both Persil and Ariel are showing signs of decline in their powder variants ­ but powders still represent more than 50% of the market. Despite the success of Ariel tablets, P&G has suffered at the hands of the more innovative Lever Bros. Bold, one of its flagship brands, is losing ground to Persil, as is Daz. Lever. meanwhile, has axed Radion in favour of a number of new variants of Surf and these appear to be finding a niche in what is a crowded market. Fabric conditioners are growing as innovative products such as Comfort Easy Iron tempt new consumers into buying into the category for the first time. Possibly a brand extension as opposed to a new brand in itself, Comfort Easy Iron has been one of the most successful new launches over the past year in the laundry category. With the promise of making ironing clothes far easier, it has proved an inspired development. One area in which P&G has innovated is in fabric fresheners. Febreze may not have set the laundry aids category itself alight but it has made enough of an impression to stir Lever into action, following suit with Comfort Refresh and Comfort Keep Fresh. {{MARKETING }}