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By: Ian Bell

2030 is a fairly arbitrary date to set in the context of gazing into the future. Much can change, but it is still possible to predict, with at least some degree of confidence, what will be shaping the world of laundry care come 2030.

While consideration of a futuristic “Star Trek” outlook for laundry practice, in which machines self-regulate, self-dose and communicate with their load for optimal washing performance, has its merits, this future will likely affect very few of us. In this case, the future is already here right now, just not evenly distributed.

Sustainability is another obvious consideration for the 2030 world, but so much has been written and spoken about the subject that another rehash of the subject is likely to bring up little that is new or insightful.

Inclusion

What is more interesting and dynamic is to look at how laundry care has grown rapidly through its emphasis on financial inclusion, knowingly or otherwise. The global market for laundry care has doubled in size since 2000, driven by a growing consumer base now found in developing markets. Can the industry really rely on its low entry point (financially speaking) to continue to drive future growth?

People

Stretching this idea of “inclusion” in the context of consumers, Designs on the Future looks to qualify how future sociodemographic shifts, the background against which laundry care sits, will define industry development in the long term. What will the rapid ageing of the world’s population as well as the evolving position of women in society mean for laundry practice and brands themselves?

Process

Looking at process, while automation of laundry care, which has typified market development so far, will no doubt continue, can we really rely on the “magic washing machine” to deliver results time and again? The standing of the washing machine is changing and its influence on global laundry practice will, somewhat surprisingly, slacken over time – ignore hand washers at your peril.

Polycotton

Looking at textiles, how will demand for apparel shape consumers’ approach to laundry care and which supply trends will be most influential by 2030, will a Fair Trade-style movement really affect the way that consumers view clothing and laundry care? Is the current disposable view of apparel here to stay or will the Fair Trade/ethical movement be able to re-establish consumers’ attachment to apparel as an investment and a long-term purchase?

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