By Princewill Ekwujuru
Rising demand for air-care and increase in concerns over indoor air quality may have led to a high demand for air fresheners in the market. The demand is further fuelled by the rapid growth in car sales, surge in number of pet ownerships, residential buildings, increase in corporate offices and rise in consumers’ willingness to use premium air fresheners.
Another factor responsible for the rise in demand is the high disposable income and improvement in lifestyle of consumers.
Other market drivers that aid demand in air fresheners include growing middle class population and increasing importance of aromatherapy in homes.
Innovations in aromatherapy and exotic aromatic compounds like aerosol propellants, fragrances, and solvents such as 2-butoxyethanol, mineral oil, and glycol ethers, which neutralizes unpleasant odour have helped to increase the demand for the product.
These developments have however heightened competition and quest for market shares among major foreign producers with local presence and imported brands.
The key brands jostling for market share include Ambi Pur and Febreze, produced by Procter & Gamble; AirWick, produced by Reckitt Benckiser Incorporated; Glade, produced by SC Johnson & Son Incorporated.
Others are Renuzit manufactured by Henkel KGaA; Deodorizing Air Freshener, manufactured by Church & Dwight Incorporated; Little Trees air fresheners, manufactured by Car-Freshener Corporation; Sawaday air freshener produced by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Stella air freshener manufactured by Godrej Household Products Limited.
Fringe products without brand names are not left out in the battle for market share.
These players also focus on the development of organic air fresheners to increase their market share. While also introducing innovative products like the Sci-Fi Air freshener, a product which contains motion sensors, LED light, and temperature and humidity sensor.
Vanguard Companies and Markets, C&M, findings revealed that the air freshener market is segmented on the basis of product (spray/aerosols, Electric air fresheners, Gel, Candles). The other segment of air fresheners include, solid, liquid, papers, vents, clips and Crystal beads.
The market is also segmented by product application such as household, offices, cars as well as type of customers such as individuals and corporate.
The findings showed that the household segment generated the highest revenue, followed by the corporate segment.
C&M also discovered that the primary sales channels for the products include retail and business-to-business. The companies try to increase sales by efficient channel distribution. Also the companies offer a broad range of air fresheners to cater to customer requirements. Supermalls, car wash stations, convenience stores are contributing to increased sales.
Findings by C&M also showed that the most popular reason for using air fresheners is because users like the fragrance where smell is the most important factor.
Some consumers say they use air freshener because it refreshes the air in the room and neutralizes, eliminates bad smells and odours.
Others use it to create specific atmosphere and as a decorative item in the house or office where some natural solutions as natural scented flowers are the most popular solution.
But others feel that air fresheners’ fragrances are too strong with the conviction that the products are not environmentally friendly.
Others said that air fresheners are expensive and argued that air fresheners are not good for health.
Consumers were divergent in their preferences for the different brands of air fresheners.
Majority of the consumers who spoke to C&M declared their preference for Ambi Pur and Febreze, Air Wick and Glade.
A consumer, Dickson Eke, Manager at Rezon Hotel, Abule-Odo, Lagos, says he uses Air Wick and Ambi Pur at different times and days to create specific atmosphere. “I also use them because of their lasting smell.”
Another consumer, Ajayi Olalemi, said Glade is his favorite, because of its freshness, and long lasting smell.
A supermarket attendant at Shoprite who pleaded anonymity said from her observations most of the brands are doing well, but specifically named Ambi Pur, Air Wick, Little Trees andGlade as leaders in the Market.
According to an expert, who preferred anonymity said air fresheners are primarily used for odour elimination some people simply use air freshener for the pleasant odour they emit.
However, he said air freshening is not only limited to modern day sprays, air freshening also can involve the use of organic and everyday house hold items.
According to him, the control of odour is addressed by classes of mechanisms including; Adsorption: Adsorbents like zeolite, activated charcoal or silica gel may be used to remove odours.
Oxidation: Ozone, hydrogen peroxide, peroxide, chlorine, chlorate and other oxidizing agents can be used to oxidize and remove organic sources of odours from surfaces and, in the case of ozone, from the air as well.
Air sanitizer: Odours caused by airborne bacterial activity can be removed by air sanitizers that de-activate bacteria.
Some air fresheners, according to him, have been known to have chemicals that provoke allergy and asthma symptoms raising argument about how safe it is to use.