Domestos’s germ-killing expertise has seen the business double in a decade and made the brand a trusted favourite around the world. Now it is building on its unstoppable power with a powerful purpose aimed at ensuring that clean and safe toilets are a reality for everyone.
Where we started
The story of Domestos started in a garden shed in Newcastle, in the north of England, in 1929. It was the brainchild of 25-year-old dental mechanic William Handley who sold his solution of sodium hypochlorite door to door for use as a steriliser, drain cleaner and even a treatment for sore feet (not recommended anymore).
By 1952 Domestos was gaining significant market momentum and being sold nationally through retail outlets, marketed under the slogan ‘Kills all known germs’ – a catchphrase that is still synonymous with the brand today.
In 1961 Unilever acquired Domestos and expansion began in all senses of the word.
The start of the new millennium saw the launch of a flurry of new formulations, starting in 2003 with the brand’s thickest-ever product, Domestos Oxygen bleach, followed in 2004 by the bold new Pink Power, and in 2005 with Aqua Blast.
The following years would see Domestos expanding its portfolio to new formats with innovations like Domestos Sink & Pipe Unblocker, Total Blast Toilet Gel, Germ Blaster and Rim Blocks.
How’s it going
Today Domestos boasts a wide portfolio that includes bathroom sprays, kitchen products and floor cleaner, as well as its core range of toilet cleaners.
Unlike many of its competitors that offer acid-based cleaners, Domestos’s bleach-based formula allows it to deliver impressive cleaning performance while also being 100% biodegradable.
Thanks to both the superiority of the products and range available, Domestos has seen its business double in size in the last ten years. Sold in over 45 countries under a variety of names, including Domex in India and Vim in Argentina, Domestos is leading in nearly all the markets where it operates.
The introduction of Domestos in Turkey in the early 2000s effectively converted the market to the merits of thick bleach, with turnover increasing sixfold in the last ten years. Vietnam has also seen huge market growth over the last decade, with Domestos acquiring 50% penetration, while South Africa’s business has tripled, also in the last decade.
“Domestos’s success in the markets is undoubtedly linked to performance superiority and consumer trust in a product that will get the job done,” says Shuchi Suri, Head of Household Cleaning & Hygiene at Unilever. “Efficacy, convenience and maintenance are the key innovation drivers for the brand, and new products have increasingly provided solutions to localised issues.”
For example, Domestos has introduced market innovations based on different toilet and water types in Vietnam and India, including products enhanced with surface modification technology (see more below) that keeps toilets clean and odour free for up to 72 hours.
But it is not just new products that are powering Domestos’s growth, the brand is also continuously improving existing ones. Domestos introduced its first toilet block in the 1990s and has been stepping up its power ever since. The new Power 5 block, for example, is now longer lasting – delivering fragrance and cleaning power for up to 300 flushes.
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