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Global Air Care

By: Briony Davies
Posted: December 5, 2006, from the December 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Differing distribution patterns also have affected the way in which the market has developed in these two regions. In North America, discounters—such as Wal-Mart and Target—account for 46% of the market. While in Western Europe, the supermarket/hypermarket channel is the largest channel, accounting for a 67% market share. This disparity results in differing prices, affecting consumer behavior. The Airwick Mobil’ Air device, for example, costs the equivalent of $11 in the U.K., while in the U.S., thanks to the prevalence of discounters, consumers pay approximately $3. Truly Portable

Growth within electric air fresheners has been aided by the recent development of battery-powered devices, such as Air Wick Mobil’ Air and SC Johnson’s Glade Wisp. Battery power means the top of the range devices are truly portable for the first time, and can be placed anywhere in the home. In the last two years, sales of electric devices in North America have grown by 38%, thanks mainly to the introduction of the battery feature.

This is not the end of plug-in products, however, and North America has seen the introduction of more elaborate devices. In 2004, P&G launched its revolutionary Febreze ScentStories. The device itself resembles a CD player and features a fan that circulates the fragrance. Consumers can choose between seven different “CDs,” each featuring five scent combinations such as Exploring a mountain trail or Relaxing in the hammock. Each scent is “played” for 30 minutes, and can last for a total of 50 hours. P&G claim that ScentStories allows the user to experience candle-like scents without having to strike a match.

Design Targets Lifestyles

Companies also are paying greater attention to consumers’ desire to create a more relaxing and welcoming home environment. In order to help satisfy this shift, SC Johnson launched Glade Scented Oil Candles in 2005. Initially launched in the U.S., the product features a traditional candle that melts into a pool of oil that emits a fragrance. This product is based on the “Scenterior” design concept that SC Johnson is heavily promoting. “Scenterior design” literally means personalizing your home with scents that fill an entire room and complete the interior design. Glade Scented Oil Candles boosted sales of candle air fresheners by nearly 30% in 2005. The product hit supermarket shelves in the U.K. in early 2006, and currently is being supported by an extensive marketing campaign. The launch of Glade Scented Oil Candles also reflects a trend toward combining air care with light and color—an extension, again, of interior design. SC Johnson’s Glade Scented Oil Light Show is designed to satisfy this desire. Recently launched in the U.S., this product is marketed for use specifically in the bedroom, and is aimed primarily at teenagers. The concept of improved aesthetic design also is reflected in the improved shape of such products as SC Johnson’s Glade Wisp. This is a battery powered device that automatically releases a puff of fragrance into a room every couple of minutes. The device is fully adjustable to allow consumers to regulate the amount of fragrance it delivers. Glade Glass Scents combines the trend for improved design. It is a gel air freshener—a more traditional device—of natural fragrance oils set in an etched glass design.

Japan’s Style over Substance

Asia Pacific is the only other region that generates more than a billion dollars a year in air care sales, with Japan accounting for 74% of those sales. Local manufacturers dominate the Japanese market, with Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and S.T. Chemical Co., Ltd. accounting for 64% of total sales.