How big is the UK laundry market?
Whether the sight of a freshly folded pile of laundry fills you with joy or just the thought of tackling it is enough to have you sticking your head under the covers, laundry is a part of daily life for everyone (whether you like it or not).
The UK laundry market size has grown significantly over the past few years thanks to growing families and cleaning trends that have created a buzz for keeping this spick and span. With the average person in the UK doing more than 13,000 wash loads in their lifetime, it is no surprise that the revenue within the laundry care segment amounts to over £1.8 million in 2022! This also works out at a revenue of £27 per person.
It is not just increasing family sizes meaning the laundry industry is also larger. The rise of ‘cleanfluencers’, fast fashion brands, and a desire for more sustainable options have contributed to the overall market size. We have also, of course, lived through the Covid-19 pandemic, which has meant that, especially in the UK, consumers are more interested in health and hygiene, which directly impacts the laundry sector.
From nostalgic brands having a popularity resurgence to consumers looking for ‘greener’ ways to wash their clothing, the market is quickly changing within the UK.
So, how big is the UK laundry market, and what factors have the most significant impact? We have pulled together everything you need to know to wash away those questions in this blog post, so get your next wash load on and settle down for the read!
What is the history of laundry in the UK?
Whilst many brands and products have come from overseas into the UK market, the laundry industry as we know it today was primarily developed here.
The first washing machine was invented by Brit H.Sidgier in 1782 and consisted of a wooden design that was hand operated. Taking inspiration from traditional forms of clothes washing, the concept still underpins the mechanisms of the washing machines to this very day. Although a far cry from the modern devices we are all familiar with, these humble beginnings led to the development of the first electric washing machine in 1901. Invented in the USA, the patented design was quick to spread around the world with laundry products also quickly following suit.
1909 saw household brand, Persil, hit the UK market. This was the first major laundry brand to be released in Great Britain and was the basis for many popular UK brands as we know them today.
The first UK laundrettes started popping up in 1949 and offered the people of the UK a chance to use this American invention to start making their lives easier. Prior to this, most women, who commonly had the responsibility for maintaining washed clothes, would hand wash everything and wring it out using a mangle. The introduction of contemporary solutions meant that laundry could start to be enjoyed instead of being a time-heavy task.
Fast forward to 2022 in the UK; we are miles away from where things started. Not only has the technology changed, but also the connotation of laundry and cleaning. 2020 saw the rise of the cleanfluencers community online, which started people documenting their cleaning tasks online. The most prominent influencer, Mrs Hinch, has over 4.5 million followers and has promoted the benefits of mental health associated with cleaning. The UK laundry market is just one example of a sector that has been made consumer friendly to provide more options and products to suit individual needs which we are thrilled to see.
These themes have led to people spending as much as double what they usually would on laundry detergents alone as they are now seen as a popular item, not just a necessity. The laundry industry started in the UK and is currently experiencing some of the biggest trend-influenced changes out of any country, which is sure to have industry-wide effects over the company years within new markets.
What does UK revenue within the laundry industry look like?
In 2020 alone, the UK laundry market generated over £3.5 billion. This is set to continue growing, with the expected market size representing almost £3.8 billion of revenue by 2025. Laundry care is the segment that is responsible for most of this growth and represents personal solutions within the home. Products within this category include detergents (pods, liquids, and powers), colour restoring solutions, stain removers, fabric conditioners, freshening products, scent boosters, and drying solutions.
It is also not just like big household brands, such as Ariel and Persil, ranking high in terms of sales. Eco-brands, such as Earth Breeze and Bio D, have considerably impacted the industry as shoppers become savvier in terms of not just price but also environmental factors. Products within the market are diverse which is brilliant as it means that consumers have plenty of things to choose from.
Where people are shopping is also making a difference to the UK laundry market size, with 11.9% of consumers favouring an online purchase for home and laundry care items. It is no secret that online sales can offer higher purchase rates for brands with the modern consumer looking for ease of purchase to support busy lives.
As you can see from the below chart, the industry within the UK has grown steadily, across all product ranges, within the last decade. Laundry care amounts to almost half of the complete household spend on cleaning products and is closely followed by household cleaners in popularity by purchase rates.
Cleaning products are even included within consumer shopping promotions that we previously only associated with leisure items. The likes of Amazon Prime Day now offer consumers the chance to save on their favourite laundry brands, amongst other products. This represents the fact that in the UK, cleaning means big business. 51% of brits also report that they stress the cleanliness of their homes, meaning that chores, such as laundry, are essential for maintaining a calm space.
Trends that have influenced the UK laundry market size
You may think, what kinds of trends could influence the popularity of laundry? Well, as we have touched upon already, the sector has transformed since 2020 and is now much more popular within consumer markets. The UK cleaning products market is expected to increase by a further 11.94% by 2030. This is a huge growth and is likely to continue being influenced by the following trends:
The Covid-19 pandemic means that people have an increased interest in cleaning. As you can see from the previous statistics shared, the laundry market, amongst others, has increased significantly since 2020. At this time, the Covid pandemic hit the world, which changed how everyone looked at hygiene and cleaning.
Laundry became popular at this time as people sought ways to sanitise their clothing and household items thoroughly to avoid spreading the virus. As well as increased marketing for laundry products, new products such as anti-bacterial fabric sprays have surged in popularity within the UK.
Whilst things may have calmed down more now, people generally share the consensus that learning to live with the virus means maintaining a dedicated cleaning routine. This includes laundry solutions that can be easily adapted for treating household linens and clothing that may have encountered the infection.
This has also not just impacted domestic clients but also professional ones, with hotels and other overnight accommodations having a higher standard or cleaning to legally comply with. The UK professional cleaning products market is expected to increase by over £200 million annually by 2030 which we think will in part but a direct result of these types of needs.
Organic and eco-friendly laundry products have continued to increase in popularity. As well as satisfying the environmentally savvy shopper, these products also take on the theory of dry cleaning to a certain extent, focusing on chemicals that can be used to treat clothing.
People expect higher-quality high-street products to be more readily available, and the increase in the number of brands that are equipped to satisfy this need has directly impacted the UK laundry market size. In fact, as many as 55% of UK consumers agree that more sustainable laundry and cleaning products should be accessible in the market.
Cleaning has become a hobby for many people. We have already mentioned the rise of cleanfluencers, but the impact that they have made is far more than just sharing tips online in exchange for views. With 45% of brands choosing to work with influencers, it is no surprise that there are some brilliant British accounts that we think showcase laundry and other cleaning types at their finest!
The global laundry detergent market is expected to grow by 5.10% between 2022 and 2029. The European component of this percentage is forecast to grow evenly, with a year-on-year improvement in laundry product sales being predicted. This is not just because families are growing but also because consumers enjoy the industry. New product releases experience the same marketing styles and interests that other retail items do, meaning there is a vast consumer market in the UK laundry sector.
Furthermore, the art of tidying homes has become increasingly popular as a way to look after our special places. You probably have heard of Marie Kondo and the art of Konmari. This method for arranging items and organising your laundry turns even the most tiresome tasks into a visually satisfying affair.
Home styling trends also influence the UK laundry market. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are full of aspirational home décor content that puts utility rooms at the heart of home renovations. Whether it’s a beautifully decorated room, a well-stocked laundry room, or an impressive collection of popular brands, this trend has greatly influenced the market.
Cleaning hacks are popular within all areas of the industry. Whether it’s tips for how you can use baking soda to renew your clothing or the many virtues of white vinegar within the home, people love to read about hacks and tips. Many books, YouTube series, and podcasts have all been released within previous years that sees consumers spending in excess of £5 million on learning about laundry and other cleaning tips. There is even a popular segment on UK TV staple, This Morning, which covers all things to do with the world of cleaning. The world of laundry is one of the many popular topics included in the segment which aims to educate and advise people on how cleaning can be made easy at home.
Why is Love2Laundry perfect for the modern consumer?
The rise in the laundry sector may have increased, but so has the responsibility we all face daily. It’s all well and good having a passion for nice scents and conditioned bedding, but the reality is that it is not always possible to stay on top of the ever-mounting list of chores.
At Love2Laundry, we share your same love of cleaning, which is why you should choose us to help you achieve laundry perfection! The laundry industry is not just comprised of at-home products but also dry-cleaning services, such as ours, and home cleaners who provide a similar service.
Dry cleaning has also surged in popularity over recent years, with consumers favouring the service for extending the life of linens, being suitable for treating complex modern fabrics, and saving them time. You can find out more about our pricing and services here.
Hopefully, these insights have given you an idea of just how large the UK laundry market size is! Thanks to exciting brands and a renewed consumer interest in taking pride in our environment, we predict that the next few years will continue to see impressive, positive growth.
If you love laundry as much as we do, we are sure you will be happy to discover that the industry is booming. So settle down with scent boosters and enjoy the relaxing hobby that is your weekly laundry load (we sure do!).