Eco-friendly products haven't always fared well on the competitive marketplace; whether it's critics deriding the environmental consciousness of consumers or higher prices, eco-friendly products have historically faced steep boundaries when it comes to achieving commercial success. Recent years have brought with them widespread changes to society, however, and it's fair to say that shifting consumer demographics have led eco-friendly cleaning products to become more popular and commercially viable than ever before.
Here's why eco-friendly products are now all the rage, why cleaning products in particular are taking off in this sector, and why consumers of tomorrow aren't likely to revert back to old opinions on this issue.
The millennials are here to stay
Millennials are a complicated group of people; a "millennial" is technically supposed to refer to somebody born between 1980 and 1996, as it's meant to indicate someone who's coming of age during the turn of the millennium, but it's by and large been used as a catch-all term to refer to any young person. Most of the time, millennial isn't just used to reference young people, but also to do so derisively and at times in a malicious fashion. For better or for worse, the label has stuck, and these days the millennial generation is all grown up and here to stay.
This is important to understand, as it virtually guarantees that a number of "consumer revolutions" are forthcoming if not already present. While few Americans would previously be excited about eco-friendly products, for instance, millennial consumers are much more concerned about the status of their environment and thus more inclined to purchase eco-friendly cleaners. According to Nielsen, the "sustainable shopper" is likely to be one of the major consumers of the future, and we can expect eco-friendly products in all areas of life to take off like never before sooner rather than later.
These millennials aren't a minor part of the marketplace, either; it's again important to remember that the term is wielded so wildly and derisively at times that it can be misleading. If you think "spoiled children" or "sullen college student" when you think of millennials, you need to realize that the term is mostly referring to people in their 30s at this point. This is having a major impact on the American economy; according to McKinsey, for instance, American millennials are already effectively larger parts of the consumer marketplace than Baby Boomers and will remain pivotal to future growth for at least two to three decades.
This is why a focus on eco-friendly cleaning product is becoming the new norm; those companies which don't cater to millennials (AKA the majority or a large plurality of the marketplace) are companies which are effectively destined for failure.
Expect more household changes
We can thus expect households of the future to flock to eco-friendly cleaning products and other "green" or "greener" solutions to their problems. Not everything has to be incredibly eco-friendly, either; "greener" products refer to those which aren't necessarily sustainable or good for the environment at all, but are at the very least much better, safer, and more sustainable than existing products which currently dominate the market. Think of it as driving a regular car instead of an electric car when you once drove a gas-guzzling SUV - it's not perfect, but you're better off than before.
Non-toxic cleaners are thus becoming incredibly popular, as are those options which preach the green ideology even if they don't necessary strictly adhere to it all of the time. It can be easy to cling to generational labels which allow us to disparage vaguely-defined groups, but those consumers, investors, and everyday people who don't think the term "millennial" has a serious impact on our marketplace are fooling themselves. What's important is using the term correctly and wisely and understanding that those using it to refer derisively to young people aren't familiar with its formal definition or confident in how millennials stand to change long-existing market norms.
Will eco-friendly products become mandatory in the future? While regulations prohibiting harmful cleaning products will be relatively few and far between, market trends driven by consumer desires are leading toxic cleaners to the dustbin while ensuring eco-friendly products reign supreme.