The Domestic Cleaning industry can be very price sensitive in certain sectors. We recently produced a podcast that outlined some of the reasons for the dramatic increase in demand for cleaners post covid, but different groups of people will respond to rising prices across the economy in very different ways.
In the 25 to 36 age group, we recently saw that 40% use, or want to use, cleaners regularly. This group can complete their own cleaning if budgets are squeezed, but they are likely to do their best to retain the service for as long as possible. Their reasons for having a cleaner are lack of time due to career and not perceiving themselves as the one that is expected to do the cleaning, or being particularly skilled at it. While the budget allocated from this group may be very elastic, we are yet to see whether they can perform a mindset shift to previous generations where they expect themselves to ‘keep house’.
Average income families. They are already price sensitive and often pick a cheaper cleaning service in an effort to reduce doing housework in their limited free time. They focus on time saving, so are not always looking for the best service, or the best detail as long as it is adequate and it means they don’t have to do it themselves. These ‘bargain hunters’ will often take on a self employed cleaner at lower rates and can be quick to cancel as budgets squeeze. This will disproportionally hit the self employed sector of the industry harder than businesses that already charge higher rates and focus on getting less price sensitive customers.
Middle income, Dual income families. They likely could afford to continue with a cleaner, but it would mean sacrifices elsewhere and we have yet to see which is most important. Nails being done, Children’s piano or horse riding lessons, meal delivery boxes or the cleaner will be the budget options. There are plenty of choices as to which will be sacrificed, so each will decide differently, but they will want their lifestyle to be maintained. This group are most likely to negotiate on price, length of clean or stop only briefly in an effort to maintain the luxuries.
Many pensioners rely on cleaners to perform the manual work ,but also to provide friendship, shopping and change beds. As everything become more expensive, many will struggle to afford the cleaner because they have a fixed pension and something has to give – it can’t be food or electricity, so demand for cleaners will reduce. They may be supported by families that are spending more time in the UK or at home as travel becomes more expensive with fuel prices, but many will struggle to complete the cleaning themselves. The pensioners will be the most heartbreaking group for cleaners as the cleaners may have no choice but to stop providing a service, knowing that these vulnerable people will struggle.
Solo people or couples without children tend to have more disposable income, so until we see a dramatic budget change these are likely to be the most stable in terms of demand.
In conclusion we may see a reduction in demand, BUT there has been so much demand in the industry that every domestic cleaner combined has not been able to meet the growing demands and we have seen a dramatic raising of prices across the sector to reduce it. Perhaps this will just be a rebalancing of the economy and cleaners may once again be seen as a luxury rather than affordable for everyone.