Germophobia ups anti-bacterial sales

cleaning productsEaster bank holiday signals the start of the spring cleaning season and 7.3 million Brits (14%) claim to be more concerned about germs than they used to be and as many as 16% of Brits worry about germs in the home.

Consumer research firm Mintel says nearly half (46%) of Brits regularly use antibacterial hand wash - and 16% carry hand sanitizer with them most of the time.

Disinfectant sales

Mintel's research reveals that when choosing disinfectant products, the desire for products that are powerful germ killers has increased by 9% amongst Brits in just one year, up from 61% in 2011 to 70% in 2012.

Moreover, some 12% of germ obsessed Brits even go as far as looking at product labels to see what specific germs they kill.


British germophobia is stronger than elsewhere. Across the household market, in 2011 the UK was the most active country with 13% of household products carrying an antibacterial claim, much higher compared to the other European countries.

In fact, amongst the Big Five, antibacterial claims accounted for only 5% in France, Germany and Italy, while in Spain for only 2%.

And with the boom in technology, a new fear is evolving - tech hygiene. The ubiquity of touch-screen technology, thanks to increasing tablet ownership, has made tech hygiene a very modern health issue.

Clean technology

Last year, as many as three in 10 (30%) Brits said they would consider using a special cleaner or polish for their gadgets - mobile, laptop, MP3 player - and this trend is not set to slow down either as ownership of these gadgets is thriving.

Mintel estimates that almost six in 10 (56%) Brits own a smartphone and 31% a portable media player. Moreover, 14% of British households plan to buy or upgrade their smartphones in the next three months while a further 10% will do the same with tablets.

Richard Caines, senior household care analyst at Mintel, said: "Although some people think that as a nation we are becoming too obsessed about hygiene, manufacturers still have a big opportunity to market cleaning products focused on protecting and caring for the home and family, something that has resonance with consumers."