Why emotions matter: Homecare in the context of Smart Home and eCommerce


Gesellschaft für Innovative Marktforschung, Berlin, Germany


What does it mean for product development and marketing when washing machines in the future buy their detergents by themselves? The automation of household activities and the digital purchase of household cleaners will have a significant impact on consumer requirements for household products in the coming years. At the same time, traditional positioning concepts based on pure cleaning performance increasingly have an acceptance problem: the story of continuous performance improvement seems to be told an end. The article shows how emotionalization can lead to a stronger involvement of consumers with the category.

An overarching view of myriad interviews we have conducted with consumers in different European markets in recent years results in at least one very distinct finding (1): As far as detergents and other cleaners are concerned, the story of optimizing functional benefits seems to be told to its end. When potential innovations are being tested, the superlatives of purely technical optimizations such as “improved cleaning formula”, “even cleaner / clearer / more thorough”, “now with 7 x / 9 x / 11 x … formula” are faced with increasing difficulty in gaining interest and acceptance.

There are several reasons for this: 

  1. Performance optimizations implemented by manufacturers in recent years have virtually filled all the need-gaps. The product performance of available detergents and cleaners is predominantly evaluated positively;
    only few consumers see a real need for further optimizations. The differences perceived from the consumer’s perspective generally stem from a particular brand’s heritage and image.
  2. For consumers, there is hardly a lack of yet another product for a particular ...
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