About a quarter of American's $7.385 trillion in personal consumption expenditures is spent on their homes. Spending on the four walls that shelter us topped $1.145 trillion in 2002, and spending on household operations, which includes all home furnishings, cleaning products, stationery and writing supplies, utility expenditures, and domestic services was $748.3 billion. Housing expenditures are rising faster than spending on household operations, as rock-bottom mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to either buy into the housing market for the first time or trade up to larger, more expensive homes.
Consumers' expectations are rising and they want an enhanced cleaning experience.
An intriguing factoid out of the government's latest numbers on household spending is that after the cost of electricity, which we all know is going through the roof, the fastest-growing household expenditure category in 2002 was cleaning and polishing preparations, which advanced 8.4 percent to reach $66.8 billion. We can learn something as we consider why people buy things they don't need. What's happening in so many other categories of consumer goods is taking hold in the home cleaning category. Consumers' expectations are rising and they want an enhanced cleaning experience. The regular everyday brands of household cleaners won't do anymore. Consumers demand more cleaning power with less effort, which ultimately means a better value. Marketers are responding by enhancing existing brands through better performance or creating totally new products that deliver a cleaning experience never available before. Products like the new Swiffer floor mop from Proctor & Gamble, or the range of cleaning products sold via television infomercials from Orange Glo—including Oxiclean, Orange Glo, and Kaboom—or the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which promises to erase away grimy wall stains, are positioned as twenty-first-century cleaning solutions. Because these products really deliver the goods, the companies will gain a loyal shopper who is willing to pay two, three, or even five times the price of the store brand for the extra cleaning performance.