LONDON: Over 10 million consumers traded down to own-label clothes washing brands in the UK last year, showing that brand loyalty has become a "thing of the past" in the sector during the downturn, according to a study by Mintel.

The UK clothes washing products market is valued at £1.2 billion ($1.7bn; €1.3bn), and Mintel reports that only 16% of adults have remained loyal to their normal brand irrespective of whether other products are on special offer.

Some 46% of consumers also said their purchase decisions were motivated by price, compared with 53% saying environmental concerns shaped their final choice (though many also argued "green" brands are too expensive).

Procter & Gamble's overall share of the laundry products market has fallen by 2.7% from 2006–08, to 47% in all, with Unilever also down by 0.6% to 28% over the same period.

Own-label, by contrast, posted an increase in share of 10.1%, to 16% overall, and Reckitt Benckiser has also seen an improvement of 9.7%, taking its stable of brands to a market share of 5%.

In the highly competitive detergent market, own label has also seen a 13.2% gain in share, with P&G's Ariel growing by 3.7% while its Fairy and Daz brands both posted double digit declines from 2006–08.

Similarly, Unilever's main brand Persil has lost 3.6% of market share over the two years, while Surf has remained largely static.

Data sourced from Mintel; additional content by WARC staff