How laundry detergent marketers are wringing every cent out of the wash

Laundry-related product introductions have been at an all-time-high the past couple years. Led by Procter & Gamble, CPG marketers have churned out a number of innovative wonders for clothes washing.

On a recent trip through the laundry aisles (yes, aisles is plural–there are two of them) at Target, I thought it might be fun to break down how much a person could spend on one load of laundry if s/he wanted to have the best-smelling, softest, brightest, whitest, most stain-free, and least-clingy clothes in the history of mankind. So I did:

Tide Pods Detergent 25¢
Tide Boost Detergent booster/stain remover 36¢
Downy Fabric softener
Downy Unstopables Scent booster $1.00
Shout Color Catcher Anti-bleed 16¢
Downy Sheets Anti-static

As you can see, one could spend nearly $2 per load on laundry products if s/he tried. Not that many people would use every one of these products, but when we consider that the average US family does about 400 loads of laundry per year, it’s easy to see why P&G, SC Johnson, and others are willing to develop and promote line extensions that will be added to a fraction of those loads.