Spring In To Cleaning: Tidy Tools Help Get the Job Done

Spring In To Cleaning: Tidy Tools Help Get the Job Done

Cleaning can be a thankless job. Luckily, there’s a variety of cleaning products to help. In fact, the tools that consumers use to clean their homes are as diverse as the regions themselves. Globally, brooms (68%), mops (65%) and rags (62%) are the most frequently used tools, but their popularity varies widely around the world, as home environments often dictate what is used and why. For example, in areas where hard-surface flooring is common, mops, brooms and sponges are popular.

Home size and economics are factors, too. Smaller homes with less surface area to clean or storage capacity will often rely on just a few tools that serve many purposes. Homes with lower relative incomes show reliance on reusable tools such as rags and cloths. Meanwhile, homes with higher relative incomes rely more heavily on disposable options like paper towels. It’s also important to note that even within a single household, consumers may use different products/tools for every day, convenience cleaning—such as wiping counters or sweeping floors—than for less-frequent heavy-duty, deep cleaning occasions, such as deep cleaning of the shower/tub or mopping floors.


So where are consumers finding the products they seek to meet their unique cleaning needs? Given that the online respondents in this survey are likely living where modern retailing options are routinely available, it’s no surprise that modern retailers come out on top in every region as the self-reported place to purchase cleaning products. More than three-quarters (77%) of global respondents say they purchased household-cleaning products from a large retail chain (such as a mass merchandiser or hypermarket) in the past 12 months. While large chains have global appeal, there are some regional differences in shopping preferences.

E-commerce is an important channel in Asia-Pacific. Thirty-seven percent of respondents in this region say they have purchased household-cleaning supplies from an online retailer in the past 12 months, compared with 23% globally. Online shopping is particularly popular among online respondents in India (48%), China (43%) and South Korea (43%).

“Distribution is the top driver of product trial, and it is positively correlated with product volume,” said Sarah Peters, Nielsen Global Business Partner. “At present, e-commerce accounts for only a small share of household products sales, but it is growing rapidly, particularly in Asia. As increasing economic prosperity in the region drives sales of household cleaners, establishing and maintaining strong relationships with both brick-and-mortar and pure-play online retailers will be important for capitalizing on this growth.”

Respondents in Asia-Pacific are also inclined to shop at traditional stores. Four in 10 respondents in the region say they’ve purchased cleaning products from a small, family-owned shop during the past 12 months, 10 percentage points above the global average. But these shops are more popular in some countries in Asia-Pacific than others. Traditional store preference is highest in developing countries. More than half of Indian respondents (51%) and more than four in 10 Chinese respondents (45%) say they’ve shopped at a small, family-owned shop in the past 12 months, while fewer than one in 10 respondents in Japan (8%), Australia (7%) and New Zealand (7%) say they’ve done so.

Other findings from the global Home-Care report include:

  • Forty-four percent of global respondents say that the female head of household does a majority of the cleaning in the home, compared to 17% of men.
  • One-third of North American respondents (33%) say that the male head of household is primarily responsible for purchasing the cleaning products in the household, 12 percentage points higher than the global average.
  • Two-thirds of global respondents (67%) say they do laundry at least twice per week.
  • Forty percent of respondents in Asia-Pacific say they seek laundry detergents that don’t contain harsh chemicals, compared to 35% globally.

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.