Growing Urbanization Driving Malaysian Consumers’ Preferences in Household Cleaning & Laundry Products

Growing Urbanization Driving Malaysian Consumers’ Preferences in Household Cleaning & Laundry Products

Rapid growth in Southeast Asia’s urban centres is creating new demand for fast, efficient and convenient household cleaning and laundry products, according to our latest global survey on home cleaning and laundry habits. The report highlights product efficacy and convenience as the most sought-after product attributes by Malaysian consumers seeking to buy cleaning and laundry products.

“We are seeing major demographic and lifestyle changes in Southeast Asia, driven primarily by growing urbanization across the region,” says Regan Leggett, Nielsen’s Executive Director for Thought Leadership and Foresight, Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific. “Nearly half of the Southeast Asian population lives in urban centres and these consumers are more time-strapped than ever, but they still face the unavoidable task of cleaning and laundering. They’re seeking products which can cut down on the amount of time they need to spend doing their chores.”

The Nielsen Global Home-Care Survey polled more than 30,000 online respondents in 61 countries to understand cleaning and laundry behaviors and sentiments around the world. We examine who’s cleaning, the tools they’re using and the benefits they’re looking for in home-care products. We also explore the underlying macroeconomic forces affecting the home-care industry, and we offer insights into how to adapt to the changing environment by aligning offerings to consumer needs and desires.


Efficiency and value are at the top of Malaysian consumers’ list of most important attributes in a home cleaning product. More than eight in 10 Malaysians say good price/value (85%) and performance (it cleans well) (82%) is important when selecting a household cleaning product. About three-quarters of Malaysians also say previous experience with a product (77%) and a trusted brand name (72%) are also important attributes they look out for when selecting household cleaning products.

The survey further revealed about a third of Malaysian respondents also say that convenient product packaging that is easy to use or store (69%) and packaging size that fits family needs (64%) as key traits when choosing their preferred household cleaning products.

“Urbanization largely means smaller storage spaces, and as a result availability of a range of pack sizes, concentrates and multi-use/multi-function products is key,” notes Leggett. “Mode of transport in Southeast Asia is also a key factor in determining pack design – with many using public transport or a motorcycle as their primary means of transport, creating demand for light and easy-to-transport products.”


Modern retail channels are the preferred choice of store for purchasing cleaning products, even in Malaysia where traditional trade still reigns for everyday shopping. In Malaysia, 80% of respondents purchased household cleaning products from a large retail chain (such as a mass merchandiser or hypermarket) in the past 12 months, compared to 77% globally. Only 28% of respondents in the nation purchased cleaning products from a small, family-owned shop in the past year.

Traditional store preference is highest in developing countries such as Vietnam (58%), Indonesia (37%) and Thailand (36%), compared to fewer than one in 10 respondents in developed Asia-Pacific countries such as Japan (8%), Australia (7%) and New Zealand (7%).

Digital retail channel are yet to gain any significant traction in Malaysia when it comes to purchasing household cleaning products. Just 13% of respondents have purchased household-cleaning supplies from an online retailer in the past 12 months, compared to 23% globally.


More than one in four respondents cleans their home every day (27%) with about two thirds of respondents saying that it is very important that their bedroom (67%), bathroom (62%) and kitchen (62%) are clean. Over three in five Malaysian consumers say effectiveness (69%) and multi-purpose (63%) are top benefits when considering which all-purpose cleaner to buy in keeping their homes clean.

When it comes to laundry, about one third of Malaysia consumers do their laundry two or more times per week (33%) while only one in five Malaysians do their laundry once a week (20%). In terms of purchasing laundry detergent, Malaysian consumers’ list performance and practically as top attributes when making a choice – 60% say stain removal and 57% say ability to use detergent on all types of items as the main feature they seek in a laundry detergent. Over half of the respondents also look out for high-efficiency products (56%) (ie. products that require less water) and products that offer a pleasant scent/fragrance (52%).

“Consumers’ fast-paced lives is driving demand for products that reduce the time spent on cleaning tasks, are easy to use, clean quickly and deliver superior results,” observes Leggett.

Responsibility for purchasing household cleaning and laundry products largely mirrors who is doing the cleaning—with even greater female influence. Nearly half of respondents (44%) in Malaysia say the female head of household buys the majority of cleaning products, more than one-quarter (30%) say it’s a shared responsibility and about one in five (21%) say the male head of household is responsible for the majority of household cleaning and laundry product purchasing decisions.

“Traditionally, cleaning and laundry product marketing has been aimed toward women, however, given the relatively high level of shared responsibility for household chores in Southeast Asian households, marketers need to consider what this means for their marketing strategy.” notes Leggett.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Home-Care Report. If you would like more detailed country-level data from this survey, it is available for sale in the Nielsen Store.


The Nielsen Global Home-Care Survey was conducted Aug. 10-Sept. 4, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion.