Laundry, the never-ending story
In 2020, we found ourselves doing more laundry than ever. The chores continue to leave us exhausted in 2021 as well. Just like everything else, laundry services and the paraphernalia too got affected and re-invented itself during the pandemic (to assist us) and will continue to do so. The cleaning hacks videos on how to remove coffee stains, how to clean the carpets etc., too were shared widely. Where do we stand in 2021? We try to answer the question as we speak to local experts who are in the business of laundry.
WFH ensured we spent days in PJs and lounge wear and ignored attending to a few work wear items in the initial few days, at least. “During the pandemic, with people spending a majority of their time at home, customer demand for sending in their work wear decreased, which initially was difficult as work wear made up a significant percentage of our business,” recalls Rami Shaar, CEO and co-founder, Washmen. The second-most time-consuming chore is washing clothes. Studies suggest that on average, we spend 102 minutes per week/88 hours per year/173 days in our lifetime washing clothes and hanging them out to dry. And these hours, when added to the time spent on all the other chores we’ve had to attend to, during the pandemic, seem daunting.
“With most of us spending more time at home than ever before, it’s no surprise that staying on top of laundry has become yet another thing on the seemingly endless to-do list,” said Rachel Chatterton, head of product development (Homecare), Marks & Spencer. Babak Moghadam, general manager, Champion Cleaners, shared, “During the initial months of the pandemic, the industry saw a dramatic drop of 20-30 per cent in the number of garment dry-cleaning.” Honey, whose turn is it to do the laundry? Well, data shared by Washmen indicates that initially when they started out 60 per cent of their clientele was men sending work wear to them. However, when they introduced the Homecare Bag, an equal balance between genders emerged, with families sending home care items. “We conducted a survey and found that our services are around an equal split between men and women,” added Rami.
Cleanliness is next to godliness is something we spoke endlessly about, during Covid-19. And whilst initially the laundry services like that of Champion Cleaners, did fear collapse as we stayed home, they chose to innovate, “Prior to the pandemic, services like home and office sanitisation and car interior deep cleaning and sanitisation were only required by hospitals or medical facilities, but we saw a 100 per cent rise in consumers opting for them over an at-home DIY job,” said Babak. Interestingly Rachel points out that Marks & Spencer introduced a range, including an easy 2-in-1 liquid solution that is tough on stains while leaving clothes super soft, alongside a fragrance-free and cruelty-free range made with 100 per cent plant-based ingredients to aid the customers. Washmen too responded to the need of the hour with the Homecare Bag, which customers could fill with items like linens, bedding, towels and more. “As we pivoted our offerings to suit the customers lifestyle, we realised that this bag that was needed even before the pandemic and we are glad to see its growth in demand, even with offices opening up,” said Rami.