Northern Ireland

Cleaning product sales set to continue to rise in 2019

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Media captionThe cleaning craze

A new craze has taken over the internet and it even involves filming your toilet.

Cleaning has become one of the biggest social media trends of 2018, where platforms such as Instagram are now awash with hashtags like #cleaningobsessed.

Influencers like Mrs Hinch, who to date has 1.4 million Instagram followers, have somehow managed to glamorise typically mundane tasks.

And as they continue to post cleaning demonstrations using their favourite cleaning products and tools, retailers have noticed a dramatic increase in cleaning product sales across the UK.

Image copyright Sophie Hinchliffe
Image caption Mrs Hinchliffe names her favourite products and calls her cleaning cupboard "Narnia"

Lorna McDonald, store manager of B&M on Bangor's Main Street, told BBC News NI: "We've noticed there are a lot of younger people coming in and buying cleaning products, but there has been a rise in general in recent months.

"If you've got a following like Mrs Hinch on Instagram, we have to be prepared and have the products that are recommended if we want to increase our sales, especially as the high street is a bit dead at the moment."

Minky, an online company that produces cleaning equipment noticed a sharp rise in sales after Mrs Hinch endorsed one of their products in unpaid Instagram posts.

They told BBC News NI: "We've seen a 10,000% increase in demand from consumers since the end of June this year and an exponential increase in demand from retailers, with no signs of slowing.

"In fact, demand has been so high that stock is selling out as quickly as it goes on sale."

Image copyright Getty Images

Easho, a wholesale website for household products who are in paid partnership with Mrs Hinch, says that the cleaning craze has helped their sales.

"We are now seeing the equivalent of 'The Delia Effect' on cleaning products, with growth of up to 200% on some of the most recommended items," said a spokesperson.

As well as internet retailers, high street shops have also noticed a higher footfall of customers with cleaning products in their baskets.

'Tidy home, tidy mind'

Katie Colwell, from Donaghadee in County Down, says cleaning has become "one of my friend group's most common topics of conversation".

And it's all because of social media.

Image caption Katie Colwell says social media has influenced her cleaning habits

The 27-year-old nurse told BBC News NI: "Embarrassingly, I spend hours watching social media influencers cleaning.

"Among my friends, we talk about which products we have all tried and whether we rate them or not and what tips we have picked up from different social media influencers.

"I am guilty of running to the nearest pound shop to grab the products which I have seen on Instagram to try myself, which has meant I now have enough disinfectant to mop eight football pitches and have them smelling of fresh linen or cranberry and orange."

But Miss Colwell says her fiancée isn't convinced by the new hobby.

"He thinks I'm bonkers when I come home, excited to try out my newest cloth or cleaning product, and spend hours cleaning on my days off, but I find it therapeutic and a good way to de-stress," she said.

"A tidy home is a tidy mind."

Richard Hopping, an analyst for market research agency Mintel, told BBC News NI: "Our data shows that 39% of cleaners feel stressed when their homes aren't clean, so promoting the benefits to mental wellbeing through cleaning could be a real factor in why influencers and cleaning are proving so popular."

@thesecretcleaner is an anonymous Instagram account who posts regular cleaning tips and has nearly 10,000 followers.

They believe that for many people the online cleaning world provides a "virtual community" for people who may feel isolated.

"When I started the account, I wasn't working and I found that cleaning kept me sane, kept me going.

"For me, cleaning is a type of mindfulness. You're focussing on one thing, you're in the moment and you feel like you have achieved something.

"You have people who support you and don't think you're weird for posting videos of you cleaning! It's a hobby!"

'Instagrammable'

But like many things on social media, trends tend to come and go, and some predict the cleaning phenomenon may not stand the test of time.

Niamh Taylor, director of Northern Ireland digital marketing agency Digital 24, said: "Some people have a problem with the amount of chemicals and plastic used to keep people's home squeaky clean.

"Others just do not get why you'd want to watch someone polishing their sink and putting clothes away every night."

She added: "I don't think this phenomenon will be as popular throughout 2019 as realistically, Insta-trends are short lived and cleaning is just not 'Instagrammable'."

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