Viva, Sunlight, Waw, Magik, Good Mama, other new detergents dislodge Omo, Elephant Blue from N265b market dominance

Story by Tairu Mistura and Bernice Nicholas, edited by Segun Otokiti

*Nigerians consume787, 500 tons of powder detergents annually

*Consumers differ sharply on choice of detergents

*Price, more than quality, responsible for choice

WorldStage Newsonline– With washing of clothing and dishes comes the preferences of choice for detergent to use by various consumers. And this to a large extent has put some of the laundry detergents at the forefront of sales advantage over others.

Before now, a few detergent brands such as Omo from the stable of Unilever, Elephant Blue from PZ Cussons and Ariel from Procter & Gamble had dominated market presence. But their dominance has in recent times given way to a number of new competitor products like Viva, Sunlight, Waw, Magik, Good Mama etc which have bitten off a good chunk from the patronage older brands were once enjoying.

In Nigeria, there has generally been a decline in consumers’ show of loyalty to laundry detergent brands, usually because of the availability of numerous substitute products and concern over high price among consumers, especially students of higher institutions.

Owing to the perceived shifts in consumer tastes and preferences, detergent makers in the country’s manufacturing space are initiating innovative strategies while expanding to meet the ever-growing demands of about 170 million consumers.

Reasons for choices made of individual detergent, according to consumers who spoke to WorldStage Newsonline, are based on prices, tastes and how effective it is in making good cleansing of materials for wash.

Mrs. Roqoyyah, a resident of Bariga in Lagos, told WorldStage Newsonline that the scent and durability of Viva detergent is what attracted her to it. She said she came across the brand at a supermarket and decided to give a try and fell in love with it eventually.

“I buy the small size of the detergent for my personal use and the durability lasts depending on how often I wash. The sweet smell and how the detergent foams while washing is what I love so much about Viva and I have never had any challenge using it ever since. I buy the small size for N250 which I feel is good enough a price because it gives me utmost satisfaction and won’t hesitate recommending to people when they need to make choice from detergents,” she explained.

While Mrs. Roqoyyah’s preference of detergent is Viva it isn’t so with Mrs. Adebimpe Adedeji from Ibafo in Ogun State whose brand is Sunlight. According to her, Sunlight detergent was introduced to by a friend. After giving it a trial she said she was attracted by its package as well as the sweet smell it gives when she washes with and the deep scented perfume it leaves her clothes with as they dry.

Bimpe said further of Sunlight detergent: “I buy the 500 gram size for N850 and lasts me for more than a month if used judiciously. The product is worth it’s cost given the many advantages that come with it.

“Sunlight detergent also amazes me as it removes all stain from my dresses leaving them sparkling clean with good smell. I don’t see myself trying any other brand because the brand gives me complete satisfaction. Though I nearly stopped buying when the selling price increased I instead went for a smaller size I could afford at that time. Despite the price increase I never have any challenge with the product and I will readily recommend people to give it a try too.”

It’s also different story with Mrs. Veronica Remilekun, a fish seller at Bbode Thomas area of Lagos. Viva, Sunlight are not her preferred detergent brands but Klin. Unlike Ruqoyyah and Bimpe who were introduced to their brands by friends, Klin was also introduced to her as monthly gift package her workplace that promotes it. She recounts that she uses the medium sized Klin detergent for an average of a month period.

“I got attracted to the brand because it washes well and has a nice fragrance,” Remilekun declared. Adding: “the product is cool for me and I don’t see the need to try other brand yet. The price, the smell, its effectiveness is soothing and don’t find any challenges with its use. Because of this, I will be more than willing to introduce klin detergent brand if anyone needs to make a choice”

“For the sweet smell the Viva detergent gives my clothes, I look to washing every morning” said Mariam Oyenola from Ejigbo whose choice of detergent is the Viva detergent brand.

She said she loved everything about the product and that she uses both the powder and bar packages of the detergent.

Oyenola discloses that the detergent comes in three types of packages namely the Viva Gold, the Viva Plus and the Viva Extra, affirming that all the three of them are effective.

She said she came to know the brand through television promo and was convinced by her neighbour’s testimony to its effectiveness and has stuck with the brand ever since then with no regret.

Like consumers of other detergent products, Oyenola is pleased with its price and admitted she didn’t have any challenge or reason to switch to other brands since, according to her, it gives her total satisfaction and that she will recommend to anyone that wants a detergent to pick as favourite.

For Mrs. Patricia who operates a mini store at Agege, Lagos, it is DIVA over Sunlight and other detergents. She narrated she was previously using Sunlight but that it’s harsh and peeled her skin causing her to switch to Diva which finds suitable. She also attested to its scent which she finds welcoming and keeping her cloths with lovely fragrance.

Sunlight liquid detergent is Mr. Isinwa Chigozie’s choice.  Speaking from Bariga, Lagos, he stated that since he has been using Sunlight liquids it has been an amazing experience, adding that washing ends up as fun for him. He said sunlight was introduced to him by his fiancee who used it to do washing and that when he saw the after-effect he was forced to ask what she used. “It’s a good product, easily accessible and well known by all,” Chigozie declared.

Another latest and popular laundry detergent is WAW which Miss Victoria Damilola described as a multi-use brand produced Global Industries Limited.

WAW, according to her, is one of the most affordable top laundry detergents with its 800g sachet selling for N900. Damilola says she likes the brand for its nice scent and high-quality foam. “Its action against stain does not affect the quality of fabrics,” she declares.

Another user of laundry detergent, Mrs. Shola Bariga tips Ariel as one of the most sought – after detergents in the market. She assures that with the quality of Ariel one may not need to scrub clothes after soaking. The brand, she says, is available both in hand and machine wash variants in Nigeria and has a nice fragrance and it’s gentle on the skin.

For Mr. Precious Efiong Sunlight is the preference. He discloses that the brand comes in three different sub-brands namely Sunlight Paradise Sensation, Sunlight Tropical Sensation and Sunlight Spring Sensation. Efiong states the reason for his preference over other types as its rich fragrance after wash. He said unlike many detergents Sunlight has two years of effect life span and that since he has been using the product his love for it has increased.

“Kiln has been known as one of the oldest best stain removers in Nigeria, Mrs. Folashade declared of her choice of the Klin brand. She disclosed having been a lover of Klin mostly for many years, particularly when it comes to washing white clothing. Beside regarding it as the best he attests to its fragrance and as being the most performing laundry detergent in the country.

Mrs. Derborah Adegbemi of Agege area of Lagos State would go for Good Mama as her choice brand because of its highly potent laundry as well as house cleaning effect. According to her, the brand contains highly potent ingredients like sodium sulfate, sodium carbonate etc that easily get rid of stains.

She added that Good Mama comes in different packages of 10kg, 70kg and 200kg and in two different varieties of Floral Fresh and Lemon Fresh. “Good Mama makes clothes clean and most times does not need to be washed twice,” Adegbemi stated.


There is still a lot more of other brands in the detergent sub-segment such as Flash, Bimbo, Jumbo, Jet etc but the swell of varieties makes listing all that are available inexhaustible.

Though most of the indigenous manufacturers either do not have the financial resources to compete with the bigger brands in the marketing or do not place as much importance on marketing as big brands do, the choice of detergent brand, according to most of the consumers, is influenced not only by price but also by perceived effectiveness, popularity and unique product features and location.

The laundry detergent sub-segment of Nigeria’s Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) is still evolving as technological innovation is continually being infused into production. According to the statistics made available by Euromonitor International, there is an estimated growth in the Nigeria’s laundry detergent market of about N265 billion.

Another report from Foraminifera Market Research shows that Nigeria’s national demand is estimated at 787,500 tons of powder detergents per annum.


No king reigns forever is a popular saying re-echoed in a Business Hallmark’s report on trending brand. This is true of the powder detergent industry in Nigeria, perhaps, more than any other. Once, Unilever’s signature product, Omo ruled the market. It was later dethroned by So-klin and more recently, Ariel – both of which have held sway for many years. But it would appear that the pre-eminence of Omo, So-Klin and Ariel is gradually fading for the new generation brands.

The industry, like in most climes, is very competitive, the report declares. It explained further that “With products offering nearly the same value, each competitor has to adopt strategies to retain a significant percentage of market share. Here it would seem the most important is pricing as the realities of the country’s struggling economy hit home. And as far as this goes – especially in the most parts of the South West, including Lagos – at the moment, Nourdm Global Company’s Magik appears to have gotten it alright. But mostly in the mini pack category.

“If you don’t redefine your marketing strategy, you would be definitely affected by the current economic conditions because if you look at the market, you will observe that there is concerned budget on the part of consumers,” notes Dr. Bongo Adi, analyst and senior lecturer at Lagos Business School.”

Reviewing the gradual but steady transition from old generation of laundry detergents to the new, the report observed thus: “Omo is a generic product. Perhaps, no Nigerian alive can possibly tell of when there was no Omo. Indeed if any elder had a story to tell about Omo, it would certainly be about how once it was so dominant that every powder detergent was called by its name.

“So dominant was Omo in its day that neither Elephant nor Surf detergents produced by another industrial giant, PZ Cussons, could sustain a challenge against it.

“It literally dwarfed all. And it did so for a very long time. Indeed, for as long as anyone can remember… until the late 90s when the era of Eko Supreme Resources’ So-Klin began and eventually eclipsed Omo. It continues to struggle for relevance.”

The same transitional effect is dawning on So-Klin introduced first around 1996 and changed the look of detergent in the country. It came in white colour, first to do so. Omo and the others before it had been blue. So-Klin proved an effective stain remover – but also as many would discover later, too harsh on clothes. From the fringes, it gradually cut deep into Omo’s market share, becoming the favorite detergent. Omo has not recovered, and perhaps never will, especially in the face of growing competition in the industry with preponderance of new products battling for market share.

“For a few years, So-Klin held sway. It had no real challenge. That was to change, however, with gradual acceptance of Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Ariel. Although Ariel was first introduced in the late 90s, it never really took off until the early millennium of 2000, during which period it deployed heavy advertising,” Hallmark’s report stated.

“Ariel had one big advantage over So-Klin,” it claims.  Adding: Many had begun to complain about So-Klin being too harsh on clothes, such that it faded and wore out clothes’ texture within a short period. Ariel was an answer to that complaint. And it had nice fragrance too.

“Ariel cut deep into So-Klin’s market share, especially in the 90g category sold at N50 for a long time. But while Ariel did better in this category, So-Klin retained a large percentage of the market share in the smaller 28g category sold at N20, especially in the Eastern Nigeria market. Now sold at N30, the So-Klin 28g is still doing quite well in the East – so is Ariel -because other newer brands are yet to take root.”

However, in the Lagos, Ogun and other states of the South West which hosts the manufacturing plants of most detergent industries, competition is more intense. Ariel and So-Klin have been dethroned by the new kings. The critical tool here is pricing. As Katherine Paine noted “The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you’re eating into your reputation or your profits.”

“These are also highly elastic commodities. Given relatively high inflation rate, concerned budget of households and individual consumers, some will shift away from the higher end products to lower quality but more affordable varieties,” Adi says.

“So, the determining factor for consumers is more of affordability than quality. You will generally observe a shift away from those high end products like Ariel and So-klin towards more affordable products in the market.”

Indeed, in a struggling economy like Nigeria’s where nearly 90 million of its estimated 200 million population now live in extreme poverty according World Poverty Clock, and where the Middle Class rarely exists, price as opposed to quality is easily the major deciding factor in consumer preferences. This is precisely why So-Klin and Ariel, particularly the latter, which have until recently, dominated the market, are already on the road to possible oblivion.

“Ariel used to sell more, but it is no longer so,” said Iya Shade, a shop owner at Bola Hassan, Alapere, Ketu, Lagos. “Now people buy more of Majik.”

“It is price,” she explained. “Magik is N100 and Ariel is N150. So, people just prefer to buy Magik because there is no money.”