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India’s fabric care sector poised to outperform global market

In India, the dominant trend has been towards consumer usage of handwashing, with powder detergents constituting the most significant segment within the market…reports Asian Lite News

India’s fabric care market is projected to grow from Rs 521 billion in 2022 to Rs 639 billion in 2025, with liquid detergents expected to dominate this market and lead in new product launches, according to Mintel’s consumer research report.

Mintel pegs the India laundry care market to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of over 7 per cent, outperforming the growth forecasted for the global laundry care market at 4.28 per cent between 2022 and 2027.

According to a report by Technavio, the size of the global laundry care market will increase to $23.85 billion by 2027.

In India, the powder detergents have been traditionally the most preferred ones for fabric care. However, since 2019, liquid format launches have begun to overtake the powder format, and this trend will continue to dominate India’s fabric care category in the near future, as per Mintel.

“The rising need for maintaining a healthy lifestyle has given a push to better quality detergents. This has led to consumers veering towards laundry care fragrances that impact our mood and preferences. It’s not just about cleaning clothes anymore. It’s also about having fresh-smelling laundry that provides an uplifting experience and helps consumers build an emotional connection with the brand that delivers them,” says Manoj Arora, Managing Director of Sacheerome, a manufacturer and supplier of fragrances and flavours.

Ever since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers have been more vigilant about the products they use, the sanitizers they buy and of course, way too particular about their houses and clothes smelling good, Mintel has noted in its consumer research of 3,000 plus respondents across India.

Surf excel

India has largely been a consumer of handwashing where powder detergents is the largest category in the market. However, with improved cleaning practices and with consumers seeking more comfort in household work, a dynamic change in the fabric wash and care industry is taking place, as per Mintel, which has resulted in increased penetration of washing machines in the country.

According to Gunjan Taneja, Founder  and  Head of Marketing at UClean, a Laundry and dry-cleaning chain, fragrance is becoming an important criteria among consumers in their laundry care decisions. “People are becoming aware of the impact of their choices in the environment and that’s becoming evident in their preference for high-quality liquid detergents. People want eco-friendly and sustainable laundry care today, even if that comes at a premium.”

As per a recent KPMG study, consumers are looking for more sustainable cleaning solutions and 76 per cent of them make their purchasing decisions based on a company’s environmental efforts.

While both powders and liquids are used in washing machines, liquid detergents are fast becoming a high-growth market — dominating the fabric care category primarily in tier-1 locations, including metro cities, across the country, as per Mintel.

For Hindustan Unilever (HUL), 19 of its brands entered the Rs1,000-crore turnover club recently. Surf Excel became the first home and personal care brand in India to clock over $1 billion annual sales in FY23. HUL’s home care liquids portfolio that includes fabric conditioners, liquid detergents and dishwashers, exceeded Rs 3,000 crore in annual turnover.

Homegrown D2C brands such as Hapiso and Volt are innovating in this space with products that stand out from the plethora of traditional formats, such as laundry pods. “Prime purchasers (i.e. Indian mothers) of the fabric care category believe powder detergents have superlative features… There is an opportunity to use fabric maintenance claims to premiumise consumers who are investing in premium clothing, and innovation with new formats can appeal to more evolved consumers,” said Tanya Rajani, Senior Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care, of Mintel India, on the trends dominating the fabric care market.

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