Tuesday, August 16

Neither Brexit nor ‘Brexat’: the fever for Spanish cleaning products doubles exports to the United Kingdom

  • The craze for Spanish cleaners spreads across the British territory through recommendations, traditional word of mouth and social networks

  • The success story of Spanish detergents is just an oasis in commercial relations with the islands; other sectors are already feeling the effects of Brexit

Laura moved from Majorca to Largs, a small tourist fishing village in southern Scotland, three years ago. Unable to find work, she began cleaning the houses of her mother’s friends, a Londoner who had moved to Scotland for love. Laura had never dedicated herself to cleaning, beyond the traditional ‘clean house’ of his house, the general cleaning of the house that he did on Saturdays.

However, as in the UK “they have no idea to clean”Soon, “word began to spread that I cleaned very well.” “I clean thoroughly in these houses and here they freak out because they are not used to that,” he says. When she had been dedicated to her recent profession for some time, she began to miss Spanish cleaning products, because “I felt that those from here did not smell as much or clean as well.”

After several searches on the internet, he found a company that sold them at an “exorbitant price”, so he decided that it would be more convenient to travel to Spain, carry a suitcase and bring a few boats in your luggage. Her husband opened a vermouth shop in Scotland and food and drinks were shipped from our country. Laura then thought of using her husband’s import license to provide herself with Spanish cleaning products. “I wrote to Asevi [uno de los grandes fabricantes españoles de limpieza] And they told me that they didn’t have a distributor in Scotland, so it would be very good for them to send me their products. In principle I wanted it for professional use, for me, but it could give me a sales bonus, “he says. The British, he remembers,” were hallucinating. “Currently, Laura runs the company Fresh Home Cleaning, is Asevi’s official distributor in Scotland and combines her job as a cleaner with the sale of detergents.

Laura’s is not an isolated case. Exports of Spanish detergents and soaps have doubled between January and October 2021 compared to the same period last year. According to data from DataComex, the foreign trade statistical portal of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Spain has exported 109,645,969.26 euros to the United Kingdom until October, while for that date in 2020 it had only sent to the British territory 58,662,310.15 euros in cleaning products.

According to the information compiled by the National Association of Spanish Manufacturers of Cleaning and Hygiene Products (Thus), the results are even better: between January and September 2021, the sector exported 96% more than in 2020 and 178% more than in 2019.

Adam and his wife Dea learned about Asevi’s scrubbers from some friends and, shortly after using them, they became hooked on “its incredible aroma and freshness.” They, like Laura, set out to create their “family business”, Spanish Sparkle Supplies, in August 2020 and, to his “amazement”, his small business “grew and grew at a rate we did not expect.” “There were people everywhere wanting to have their houses clean and smelling like a Spanish holiday villa “, Adam claims, so in no time they placed larger orders with their supplier and tried to order a wider range of products to supply all of their customers.

The craze for Spanish cleaning products is spreading across the British territory through recommendations, traditional word of mouth and social media. Just open Instagram and type in the search engine “Spanish cleaning“to realize the” frenzy “, as Adam expresses, that the Spanish cleaners are causing in the United Kingdom. This fever appeared” two years ago, but in the last year it has been more notorious “, points out Inés Sánchez de la Morena, CEO Kiriko brand.

Asevi, The 3 Witches, Kiriko, Mayor Domo, Brumol and Vernel They are positioned as the favorite brands of the British, who also show a special obsession for fragrances Nenuco. “Spain is a leading country in the manufacture of extreme quality chemical products. In addition, we have very attractive prices”, explains to ‘El Periódico de España’ Alfonso Ortega, author of the book ‘Practice of EU-UK foreign trade between companies after Brexit ‘and professor at the Miguel Hernández University (UMH) of Elche.

“Spanish-made products have good quality, the image of our companies in the UK is good and we offer very competitive products “, declares Juan Carlos Cebriá, CEO of Vijusa and president of Asfel, which also reflects that one of the reasons for the success of Spanish cleaners in the United Kingdom centers on the fact that there is a need in the global market to “shorten supply chains, taking into account that it is fundamentally about chemical products and that its transportation is very expensive ”.An “oasis” in the Brexit desert

The pandemic It has contributed to the Spanish detergent rush in the UK. The need to keep homes free of viruses and to take extreme measures of cleaning and hygiene has allowed the consumption of this type of goods to have increased “exponentially”, says Alfonso Ortega. However, this promising situation in the sector is only “an oasis” in commercial relations between Spain and the United Kingdom, says Ortega. Since the basic free trade agreement between the European Union and Spain came into force on January 1, 2021, the context has changed, “but for the worse,” says the UMH professor. Brexit is already drowning several Spanish sectors, such as the olive oil production, whose exports have fallen by 27% compared to last year, or that of footwear, where the decrease was 22.7%.

Despite the fact that in January, February and March of this year, British trade with the European Union had marked negative results of between 15.6% and 13.3% compared to the same dates in 2020, reaching levels of 2016, in recent months it has evolved favorably, reaching a growth of 3.1 points in September, in accordance with the data provided by Crédito y Caución.

The positive data of the last quarters of the year turn into a mirage if, in addition, the effects of the pandemic and Brexit are discounted, that is, if they are compared to the 2018 trade levels. The collapse of trade with the EU would be, in this context, 12,1%, in contrast to that of the rest of the EU countries that do not belong to the Twenty-eight – now Twenty-seven after the departure of the United Kingdom-, which has increased marginally by 0.2%.

“It is very significant that now we export more than we import from the United Kingdom, when the trade balance was always negative for Spain,” says Alfonso Ortega. Currently, Spain is the sixth country in the European Union that exports the most to the United Kingdom.

According to data from Asfel, from top exporting countries to the United Kingdom, Spain is the only country that has increased sales of all types of products so far this year compared to the same period in previous years, while the rest of the countries have considerably decreased their sales to that country, which has become a third State. Exporting or importing products to the United Kingdom “is the same as doing it to Russia, Canada, the United States or Peru”, although the amount of the tariff and the possible documentary restrictions that may be required will vary. “As exporters, we have only had to specify in more detail some information in the invoices and packing list“, details Inés Sánchez de la Morena, CEO of Kiriko.

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Mainly British market

Despite the furor that Spanish cleaning products have caused in the United Kingdom, nationals who emigrate to the islands do not seem interested in consuming them in their new life there. The market for the dozens of small businesses that have sprung up in recent years is primarily British. And that the original idea when they began to import was the opposite, as Laura explains: “My idea was for Spanish and British to buy me, but no spanish has bought me products cleaning”.


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