Vacuum cleaning and moping market surged fueled by coronavirus and product innovation

Hard hit by coronavirus, China’s retail sales market came to a market size of 705.6 billion Yuan in 2020, down by 11.3% year-on-year. Electric vacuum cleaning and mopping sector became one of the few categories that achieved fast growth amid the broad sluggishness with a market size of 24 billion Yuan in 2020, up by 20% year-on-year, according to All View Cloud. Behind the growth are two major factors. On one hand, the breakout of coronavirus raised the healthcare and cleaning awareness of consumers, which generated the demand for electric vacuum cleaning and mopping appliances. On the other hand, the rollout of innovative products such as smart wet dry vacuum cleaners and self-cleaning mopping and cleaning robots significantly optimized consumer experience and blazed the trail for the industry.

Changes in both supply and demand side fueled the growth

Different from European or American consumers, Chinese consumers mostly have hard floors at home, which means they have a stronger need for mopping. But traditional products, developed with vacuum cleaning as a priority, are weak in mopping performance and need to change the mop manually, making consumer experience falling short of consumer expectations. In 2020, enterprises including Tineco and Narwal rolled out innovative smart wet dry vacuum cleaners and self-cleaning mopping and cleaning robots. The products significantly upgraded the mopping performance and allowed consumers to free from washing mops manually. Targeting the pain points of consumers, the products blazed a trail for the industry and drove the sector to grow.

Online sales surged while offline sales sagged

Enterprises shifted from offline to online with a series of moves launched online including new product releases, live stream sales and promotion campaigns to boost online sales when offline sales got battered amid coronavirus in 2020. Online market accounted for 86% of the whole electric vacuum cleaning and mopping market by retail sales value in 2020, up by 8% year-on-year. As coronavirus gradually gets contained within China, offline market is expected to recover in 2021. But for the long term, online market is still believed to be the main battle field and is believed to take an increasingly larger share of the market.

In terms of reasons behind it, electric vacuum cleaning and mopping appliances do not need installation, which give them an edge in online sales. For enterprises, online marketing saves a great deal of expenses including rental fees and salaries. Plus, new sales modes including live stream sales and scenario-based sales allow consumers to get to know products better and therefore generate their purchase desire.

Average prices rose powered by the consumption upgrading trend

With the upgrading of technology, the market saw a rise in pricing, of which average prices of vacuum robots, cordless vacuum cleaners and smart wet dry vacuum cleaners went up compared to year 2019. When it came to pricing strategy of enterprises, it’s clear that mid- to high-end products priced above 2000 Yuan saw a significant rise in share of new products placed on the market. The price rise mainly came from the hardware upgrades of products including motors, chips and navigation system and the differentiation of new categories such as smart wet dry vacuum cleaners and self-cleaning mopping and cleaning robots compared with existing products.

Market concentration further grew

Brands with electric vacuum and mopping products sold on the market amounted to 482 in 2020, up by 74 compared to year 2019, according to monitored data of online market from All View Cloud. The increase in brand number intensified competition, but did not lower the market concentration of leading brands. In fact, leading brands achieved higher market concentration in 2020 due to consumers’ rising brand awareness and pursuit for product quality which drove them to choose trusted brands, and the competitive advantages of leading brands in product quality and brand recognition which powered them to gain ground from remaining brands and edged out weak brands.

Category wise, top 5 brands of vacuum robot market took a combined share of 83% at online market, and top 10 brands of cordless vacuum cleaner market a combined share of 86%. As a new category with few players, smart wet dry vacuum cleaner market was dominated by Tineco who alone took a share of more than two third.

Product iteration expedited

The number of new products placed on the market came to 1067 in 2020, according to monitored data of online market from All View Cloud. The fierce market competition and technology upgrades sped up the product iteration of enterprises especially before shopping festivals such as June 18 and November 11 (Singles’ Day) when new products including T8 of Ecovacs, T7 of Roborock and P7 of Midea were rolled out. These new products offered optimized performance, functions as well as user experience.

User demands were more valued to improve consumer experience

Products sold early on the market competed mostly on the ground of parameters and price with little concern with the actual scenarios of consumers. Now, enterprises stay close to consumer demands and upgrade products in multiple aspects including appearance, performance, operability and intelligence.

The development of smart wet dry vacuum cleaners and self-cleaning mopping and cleaning robots well address the pain points of consumers and therefore embrace an explosive growth. Cordless vacuums add magnetic charging function, display panel, automatic lighting, and tangle-free roll brush to make it more easy to use. Cleaning robots are getting smarter with more products adopt laser navigation and visual navigation. In 2020, cleaning robots with laser navigation accounted for 47% while those with visual navigation 16% of the category. Roborock and Ecovacs apply AI technology to cleaning robots ahead of the pack, allowing the products to be smarter to avoid obstacles.

It is estimated that the sector will embrace a further growth in 2021 with a market size exceeding 30 billion Yuan, up by 26% year-on-year, according to All View Cloud. Leading brands will continue to advance the structural upgrade of the industry through product iteration, and mid- and high-end products are expected to take a larger share of the market. Product wise, cleaning robots are expected to reach 11.2 billion Yuan in retail sales, up by 20% year-on-year; mainstream brands will successively roll out self-cleaning products that integrate cleaning and mopping functions; low-end robots without smart navigation will be phased out; smart wet dry vacuum cleaner sector will step up further to reach an estimated market size of 4 billion Yuan and more than 30 brands; cordless vacuum cleaner sector will remain the growth but in a limited way given the lack of mopping function

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