Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index 2020 Reveals Australian Attitudes Towards Hygiene Safety Are Key to Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Pre-Christmas

November 18, 2020

Quality hygiene protocols will play a critical role in rebuilding consumer confidence in the lead-up to Christmas, according to the first Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index 2020, which tracks and benchmarks Australian attitudes and behaviour around hygiene during COVID-19. Launched by Ecolab to better understand what the drivers are for Australians to feel safer as they start to interact more with retailers, restaurants and venues, the Index is designed to be a Barometer for hygiene expectations and attitudes over time. 

The Index reveals that hygiene is a top priority for Australian consumers compared to 12 months ago: 97% of Australians say hygiene is an important consideration when choosing venues, products and services, while 86% are more likely to interact with a business, brand or service if they know it uses a trusted and globally-leading hygiene product and solution. 

Jan Pacas, Managing Director of Ecolab ANZ/Pacific, says: “COVID-19 has created a seismic shift in Australian attitudes towards hygiene. The nation’s attention is on the safety of the products, people and environments that we consume, visit and interact with every day. 

“We wanted to understand the current scale and significance of hygiene in terms of the trust and reliability it engenders in places, products and services. Australian retailers usually make up two-thirds of their profits during the Christmas season. We hope the first Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index will help them to better design and communicate their hygiene protocols, which will give consumers the confidence to reengage with them.”

Key findings of the Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index 2020

  • 97% of Australians say hygiene is an important consideration when choosing venues, products and services. The importance of hygiene increases with age: 81% of the Silent Generation (75+) and 78% of Baby Boomers say hygiene is ‘very important’ – yet 32% of Gen Z (aged 18-25) say it’s ‘not important at all’. 
  • 90% of Australians are more aware of the importance of good hygiene versus 12 months ago, 48% are ‘much more aware’ – yet 32% of Gen Z say they're ‘not at all more aware’.
  • 86% feel it is important for businesses to disclose the types of hygiene solutions they use, while 45% say this is ‘very important’. Males and parents feel most strongly about disclosing hygiene products and procedures, while 87% of Australians agree that hygiene solutions should be sourced from trusted and globally-leading brands. 
  • The three most valued attributes of hygiene solutions are: efficacy against bacteria and viruses (including COVID-19), scientifically proven, and safe & harmless to use. 

The Index reveals Australia’s biggest concerns when physically interacting with a business or service are:

  • Being in crowded places 
  • The health of other customers 
  • Touching surfaces and things 
  • The availability of hygiene products
  • Using utensils, tableware and equipment 

Australians demand the highest standards of hygiene from the following six ‘hygiene hotspots’: Hospitals & Healthcare, Aged Care facilities, Supermarkets and Food Retail, Shops & Shopping Centres, Public Transport and Restaurants.

“Despite their status as ‘super-spreaders’, 32% of Gen Z respondents say hygiene is not at all important to them when choosing venues, products and services. It’s also interesting to see how attitudes vary from State to State. Western Australians worry most about hygiene standards in retail environments, Queenslanders are most concerned about travelling safely on public transport, Victorians are more likely to scrutinize the quality of hygiene products,” explains Pacas. 

“The Index reflects the current mindset and mood of our nation and the places people are most sensitive to return to. It suggests that if businesses communicate quality hygiene solutions and safety protocols clearly, the more confident consumers will be to interact with them as we enter the holiday season.”

The Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index 2020 is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 Australians aged 18-75+. It was conducted between 16 to 20 October 2020, and will continue to track changes in attitudes and behaviour over time.

For more information on Ecolab and the Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index 2020, please contact:

Carrie-Ann Jefferies, Senior Communications Specialist 
(+61) 418 518 903

The Ecolab Hygiene Awareness Index is published by Ecolab, the global leader in hygiene safety, water and infection prevention solutions and services. With annual sales of USD13 billion, its 45,000 associates service nearly three million commercial customer locations worldwide. Partnering with many of Australia’s biggest and most important businesses, institutions and brands, Ecolab helps ensure healthy environments and food safety for customers, employees, patients and partners. Ecolab hygiene safety products and solutions span all aspects of Australian society and industry, including Hospitals and Healthcare, Aged Care, Public Transport, Schools, Emergency Services, Restaurants, Hotels, Retail, Food & Beverage Manufacturers, Mining and more. Ecolab is "everywhere it matters”. Trusted in Australia. Number one around the world.


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