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February 2020 ertonline.co.uk


but also just because the SDA market wants to catch up with MDAs which commonly feature apps nowadays.


App-controlled Going a step further, Roidmi vacuum cleaners, made by Chinese brand Xiaomi and distributed in the UK and Europe by distributor Witt, have taken inspiration from the smartphone market, “offering clean and minimalist designs and some valuable smart features with the Roidmi Cleaner app,” Mr Johnson says. “As well as offering more practical smart checks to highlight, for example, battery levels, filter condition and when the bin needs to be emptied, our X20 and S1 models also enable health-conscious users to count the calories they burn per cleaning session.” While this last feature might seem gimmicky, it’s


D


worth remembering that in most consumer tech titles, the Roidmi X20 averaged 4.5 in nearly all reviews, and the X20 comes with a mop attachment which allows the user to wash the floor as they vac. Miele has also got in on the act, introducing


rivers for trends in the floorcare market


are threefold – firstly, consumers are being more considerate in their purchases and choosing to spend their money more wisely, so are shopping around for the very best products their money can buy. Secondly, there is also a growing focus on health and wellness in the home, meaning that floor cleaners offering more than simply vacuuming are an attractive proposition to the average homeowner than in previous years, even if it means spending significantly more. This is backed up by GfK figures which list key growth areas in 2019 as steam mops, uprights and wet and dry (carpet cleaners) – all recovering after many years of decline. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the target demographic for floorcare products has changed dramatically in recent years, with younger consumers and homeowners choosing to invest in their homes. Younger consumers are also more open to the idea of higher tech, app-controlled or remote controlled machines meaning the market is ripe for fresh and exciting innovation. As Witt Sales Director for UK and Ireland, Geoff Johnson, points out, influencers, such as Mrs Hinch and Linsey Queen of Clean, are fuelling the industry. “The meteoric rise of cleaning communities on Instagram continues to move the sector forward, promoting floorcare products to a whole new generation of consumers.”


Younger target market He says that the prospect of marketing to a more widespread demographic is revitalising the industry, impacting everything from the look to the technological designs of these machines. “Buoyed by the surge in interest, vacuum cleaner brands are catering to demand from younger consumers by bringing their ranges in line with the most trendsetting smart technologies.” Multifunctional and smart cordless upright cleaners seem to be the way the market is heading, away from the robotic vacuum market that exploded


and then largely fizzled out five or six years ago. There have been a few issues with robotic vacuums, which have struggled to navigate UK homes due to different levels and floor surfaces. In addition, homeowners have to make sure the floor is always clear of clutter that could scupper the machine, such as shoes with laces. So this might not be suitable for the less-tidy purchaser.


“There have been a few issues with robotic vacuums, which have struggled to navigate UK homes. In addition, homeowners have to make sure the floor is always clear of clutter that could scupper the machine.”


Saturation point


Robotic vacuums when they launched were prohibitively expensive compared to cordless vacuums, which retailed for around half the cost, and charging can be an issue, with batteries expensive to replace if they fail. Prices for robo-vacs have come down significantly since then but this could be down to a total saturation of this market, where, as Smartwaves Group Country Manager for UK and Ireland, Graham Speake, notes, “current floorcare manufacturers as well as new Chinese brands are entering if they haven’t already done so, meaning that at present, supply is outweighing demand”. In terms of those issues mentioned, Hoover Candy


Group’s Business Director for SDA, David Matthews, says that “weaknesses have been identified and better models are on the horizon. Once performance issues are rectified, I expect we will see a breakthrough in the robotic market”.


Mr Matthews also expects app use to increase, ››


the Triflex HX1, its first cordless vacuum cleaner available in five colours from this month. Featuring a three-in-one design (patents pending), the Triflex can be configured as a cordless handstick, cordless handheld and cordless upright vacuum cleaner. This pioneering system enables the user to quickly and easily change the setup of the Triflex to suit their cleaning needs. It also features a removable battery, allowing consumers to double their cleaning potential with the purchase of a second battery.


The award-winning Triflex’s suction power comes from Miele’s tried-and- tested Vortex Technology, as featured in its Blizzard CX1 bagless cylinder vacuum cleaners.


It is notable to point out that both


Witt and Miele make no mention of robotic vacuums – products they have pushed heavily in the past. It’s another sign that, while the robo-vac still has its place, the market seems to be heading away from this innovation for the time being.


Opposite page: Miele’s Triflex HX1 cordless vacuum cleaner. Above: The X20 mop and vacuum from Roidmi. Right: The S1 Special Cordless Vacuum Cleaner Stick from Roidmi.


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