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Clean Sweep - Innovation Driving Sales of Vacuum Cleaners in China

5/17/2024
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The Chinese vacuum cleaner market is the most competitive and innovative. Brands are known to launch two new models a year, trying to compete with each other through innovation. These brands are now at the cutting edge of technological development, particularly evident in self-cleaning wet and dry vacuum models. Euromonitor International analyses the current state of play in this article.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners underpin growth

China is the world’s second-largest market for vacuum cleaners, despite sales largely limited to major cities in the country. It is also the fastest-growing small appliance category in China, recording a 4.6% CAGR over the review period. Multiple drivers underpin this growth, among which is innovation, as well as Chinese consumers’ lifestyle shift towards convenience and home hygiene, which are key.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners, referred to as floor washers in China, were introduced to the local market approximately five years ago and were an instant hit with consumers. Sales have more than quadrupled since 2018, and y-o-y growth has been in high double digits. Consumers appreciate the product as a substitute for traditional floor mopping, a chore that many of them reluctantly do daily.Chart showing Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaners Volume Sales in China 2018-2023

Local brands dominate the market

The landscape of vacuum cleaners in China is extremely competitive and dominated by local brands. Their success has been attributed to brand awareness, innovative localised technologies, and affordability to middle-class consumers.

In China, brand share performance is closely linked to category performance, given there is no absolute leader across all formats. For example, due to the success of its wet and dry vacuum cleaners, Tineco is the most recent success story. After its wet and dry models gained traction from 2021, Tineco moved from outside the top 10 to ranking second in the market.

The competitive landscape is composed of traditional appliance brands, and vacuum cleaner startups that are pushing the boundary of technological innovation.

Chart showing China Vacuum Cleaners Brand Rankings 2014-2023; 2023 Brand Volume Share

Upright and robotic models are popular in China

The popularity of wet and dry vacuum cleaners in China is mainly driven by upright and robotic types, as they are suitable to accommodate water tanks.

Since the introduction and positioning of upright wet and dry vacuum cleaners as “floor washers” in China in 2019/2020, growth has skyrocketed

Source: Euromonitor International

This has led to a rapid shift in demand from stick models to upright and robotic types and accelerated the obsolescence of cylinder vacuum cleaners. Stick vacuum cleaners have not been able to benefit from this trend as the design makes it difficult to incorporate a large water tank, thereby restricting cleaning capacity.

On the other hand, the share of robotic vacuum cleaners in China is relatively resilient due to a dramatically different design and usage. The wet and dry robotic vacuum cleaner has dominated robotic models since 2021.

Chart showing Vacuum Cleaners by Type and Format in China 2018-2023

As the market for vacuum cleaners starts to mature in China, expect these brands to redouble their international expansion efforts. It will be interesting to see if innovation that works in China is as well-received in foreign markets.

To find out more about the current state of play in China, read our briefing, Vacuum Cleaners in China: Consumer Trends, Brand Strategies, and Innovation.

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