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All fluffed up: Australia’s fabric softener market

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), June 2014 – July 2015 (n=9,832).

With names that sound like more Little Bo Peep’s lost lambs or a child’s teddy bear, fabric softeners like Huggie, Cuddly and Fluffy promise to make even the scratchiest of clothes, sheets and towels soft and snuggly…which is probably why almost a third of Australian grocery-buyers purchase some form of fabric softener in an average six months.

According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, 32% of grocery-buyers buy fabric softener (either regular, Ultra or sachet) in any given six-month period. Cuddly is the leading brand, purchased by just over 12% of grocery-buyers, ahead of Fluffy (9%), supermarket brands (8%), Comfort and Huggie (2% respectively).

Australia’s best-selling fabric softeners


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), June 2014 – July 2015 (n=9,832).

Female grocery buyers (35%) are more likely overall than their male counterparts (27%) to buy fabric softener, with some key differences in the type bought. Women who buy fabric softener are slightly more likely to opt for brand names, while men who buy it are slightly more likely to choose supermarket brands. Cuddly is the equal-opportunity exception, being purchased by similar proportions of male fabric-softener buyers as female.

Parents with kids aged under-16 at home (34%) are also more likely than the average grocery buyer to buy fabric softener. Parents with infants aged 0-2 show the highest purchase incidence (39%), followed by those with kids between nine and 11 years (37%).

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Our latest findings show that fabric softener is a common grocery item in Australian shopping baskets, with one brand — Cuddly — dominating  the market.

“Given that a much higher proportion of women than men are grocery buyers, it’s no surprise that the majority of Australians purchasing fabric softener in an average six months are women. This is good news for brands since female shoppers are more likely to choose established brand names than their supermarket equivalent.

“Our data also reveals that consumers from the less affluent end of the socio-economic spectrum are more likely than their wealthier counterparts to buy fabric softener. Similarly, grocery-buyers on ‘home duties’ (41%) show a much greater tendency to purchase it than those in paid employment (30%).

“Armed with detailed insights into their target market’s shopping habits, household configuration and socio-economic circumstances, fabric softener brands can tailor their communications so as to reach the most responsive shoppers, while warding off the challenge presented by supermarket brands....”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%