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Sustainability Gaining Momentum in Home Care in Middle East

4/9/2024
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Home care in the Middle East is undergoing a remarkable transformation, driven by the convergence of two factors: a surge in consumer demand for innovative cleaning solutions and the active promotion of sustainable and eco-friendly practices by governments. As such, consumers are seeking cleaning solutions that offer eco-friendly formulations, sustainable packaging, and stress-relieving fragrances tailored to regional preferences. Manufacturers which prioritise eco-friendly products and align with these evolving consumer trends are poised to capitalise on this evolving opportunity.

Evolving socioeconomic landscape presents opportunities in sustainability

These changes in consumer attitudes towards home care are reflective of a changing socioeconomic environment with rapid urbanisation, population growth, and increasing disposable incomes fuelling an increased demand for household cleaning products. For example, in the United Arab Emirates, the number of households is expected to grow by 19% over the forecast period, to reach 2.2 million by 2027. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, the number of households is projected to grow by 7%, reaching 7.1 million the same year. Urbanisation also is set to intensify in Saudi Arabia, incorporating 86% of total households by 2027.

Amid the growing demand for conventional home care products, there is a notable increase in sustainable offerings, which are typically priced marginally higher. Heightened consumer awareness, catalysed by the push by governments and manufacturers for eco-friendly practices, is driving this shift, leading to a preference for innovative and effective sustainable cleaning solutions. Despite the global view suggesting a reluctance in the willingness to pay more for sustainable home care products, attributed to factors such as the rising cost of living and consumers' inclination towards lower-priced options that offer value for money, the consumer dynamics are different in the United Arab Emirates.

In the UAE, there has been a notable surge in the willingness of consumers to pay more for sustainable home care products, increasing from 10% in 2021 to 12% in 2023

Source: Euromonitor InternationalChart showing Willingness to Pay More: Sustainable Home Care Products

Inflation and rising cost of living drive innovation around lowering energy costs

A need to reduce energy consumption has also become important. As consumers grapple with rising utility costs, both home appliance and home care manufacturers are focusing on innovation to cut consumption.

41% of United Arab Emirates consumers express their commitment to reducing energy consumption and opting for more energy-efficient products as part of their pursuit of sustainable living, aligning closely with the sentiment of 36.5% of consumers in Saudi Arabia

Source: Euromonitor International's Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles Survey, fielded January to February 2023

Chart showing Green Activities and Sustainable Consumption by Region -% of respondentsIn tandem with managing household resources, Reckitt Benckiser is addressing growing consumer concerns about water conservation through an innovative approach with its leading automatic dishwashing brand, Finish. The “Skip the Rinse” campaign encourages a more water-efficient dishwashing routine by advocating for the effectiveness of Finish Quantum Ultimate without the need for pre-rinsing.

This ongoing initiative, enabling households to potentially save up to 75 litres of water per load, not only offers significant cost savings but also contributes to sustainable benefits through energy conservation and reduced environmental impact. This collective effort is currently addressing consumer demand for cost-effective solutions, and with the ongoing rise in energy costs, this trend is expected to persist.

This commitment to sustainability aligns with the region's growing environmental consciousness, further supported by government initiatives, such as eco-labelling programmes and green certifications for cleaning products. The United Arab Emirates, for example, has taken bold steps towards environmental sustainability with the recent ban on single-use plastic bags, effective from early 2024. Thus, the commitment to sustainability driven by governments is being reflected in consumer preferences, which in turn is promoting eco-friendly practices.

Sustainability trends spearhead innovation in the region

In response to these changing market dynamics, innovation is sweeping across different home care categories, with a particular emphasis on laundry care. Manufacturers are actively addressing sustainability commitments while responding to the growing consumer demand for low-cost, effective, and value-for-money brands and products. These include concentrated formulations that provide powerful cleaning in smaller quantities, reducing packaging waste and decreasing transportation impact. Pre-measured and compact laundry sheets also offer a sustainable alternative, requiring less water and minimising plastic waste.

Simultaneously, manufacturers are responding with innovations in cleaning products, such as detergents that operate effectively at lower temperatures and require reduced water usage. In the Middle East, where cold wash remains popular, appliance and detergent manufacturers are seizing the opportunity to cater for this eco-conscious and cost-effective trend among consumers by innovating with appliances and brands that offer quicker wash cycles and effective cleaning at lower temperatures. This unlocks unmet potential, where the reliance on heat for automatic laundry is simply not feasible for most consumers.

Henkel stands out as an innovator in this space with its Persil Eco Power Cold Wash brand. Designed for lower temperature activation and reduced water usage, this liquid detergent enables consumers to achieve optimal cleaning results even in cold water cycles, significantly reducing energy consumption.

Similarly, Baya, a locally-owned company in the United Arab Emirates, targets environmentally-conscious consumers with Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Sheets. The innovative product is made with plant-based, biodegradable ingredients, comes in compostable packaging, and is formulated to be gentle on the environment. This introduction marks a notable shift in the market towards reducing plastic waste and aligning with sustainability.

Sustainability finally takes centre stage in the Middle East

Home care in the Middle East remains highly lucrative, fuelled by urbanisation, rising incomes, and a growing emphasis on sustainability. Consumer-centric brands emphasising sustainability will be well-positioned, making the region’s home care market profitable for both established players and new entrants.

As the market intensifies with competition, innovation will be key for both established players and new entrants, especially those dedicated to sustainable solutions

Source: Euromonitor International

Download our reports, Competitor Strategies in Home Care and World Market For Home Care, for in-depth trend descriptions, case studies and strategic recommendations.

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