Swiss textile maker HeiQ has conducted a consumer research study that shows consumers are bothered by smells on their textiles, but they are not aware of anti-odor functionalities in clothing or home textiles. HeiQ has concluded that textile products empowered with odor control technologies should be rethought if the added value is to be captured.
This spring, American consumers with an average level of activeness were interviewed on the topic of textile odor control, covering a range of home textiles and apparel. The ongoing rising “athleisure” trend is bringing high-performance sports clothing to people’s everyday life, including in the office. Although there seems to be a high awareness of sweat-related odor control functions on sports apparel specifically, HeiQ’s Textile Market Knowledge Centre (TMKC) has shed light on the current consumer perception of odors on clothing and home textiles in general, and their level of awareness and involvement in embedded odor control technologies.
All participating consumers were concerned about odors on their textile goods, but their current solution only focuses on post-treatments, such as washing more frequently or using stronger washing aids, such as bleach and stronger detergent. None of them mentioned buying textile with inbuilt technologies that prevent or fight against odors. However, with more questioning, they found it appealing if a textile product would prevent odors to develop or even tackle odors from the surrounding environment.
In fact, consumers would be willing to pay a 15 percent price premium for textiles with odor control functionality, according to Cotton Inc.’s 2016 Retail Monitor™ survey. Consumer focus on increased or stronger washing to post-treat odors on textiles increases the environmental impact. If brands communicate that their products will not stink, and basically would not need an extra washing cycle, those brands can indirectly contribute to a reduced environmental footprint of their textile goods and prolong the product’s lifetime.
HeiQ’s research also discovered that, despite the appeal, respondents are critical about the “add-on” to the textile that takes care of odor control, so educating the consumer takes on added importance. HeiQ technologies are bluesign® approved, OEKO-TEX® conform, and are extensively tested for skin sensitivity.
Survey respondents also indicated that they would like to learn more about the textile products of interest. Some of them mentioned that they search online for the product while they are in a store. Ingredient branding can help to serve consumer interests in this regard.