Robotic Vacuum Cleaners: Key Trends and Growth Opportunities Up to 2021

January 2017

Robotic vacuum cleaners is expected to post faster volume growth globally than any other type of vacuum cleaner over 2016-2021. Apart from China and Thailand, developed markets are the major markets driving absolute volume growth. In addition to reduced unit prices, changes in socioeconomic factors, namely increased female employment, change of flooring type from carpet to hard floor as well as an increase in pet ownership are some of the major drivers underpinning growth opportunities in global

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Different types of vacuum cleaner are expected to grow in different regions based on various factors 

Over 2016-2021, in terms of absolute volume growth, robotic vacuum cleaners are expected to grow highest in Asia Pacific driven by China due to growth in internet retailing and decrease in unit prices. Stick vacuum cleaners are expected to grow highest in Western Europe since consumers prefer light-weighted and cordless vacuum cleaners. Upright vacuum cleaners will continue to grow highest in North America due to larger household spaces and high rate of carpet usage, which suits well the strong suction power of upright vacuum cleaners. 

Robotic vacuum cleaners will post lowest prices in China in the world over 2016-2021 

Leading brands in China, Ecovacs and Fmart, offer various models at competitive unit prices in robotic vacuum cleaners, ranging from US$200-300, on and, respectively. Internet retailing, in addition to intense competition, has helped lower unit prices of robotic vacuum cleaners in China. 

Growth of hard flooring in the US will present opportunity for dual-function robotic vacuum cleaners 

Over 2016-2021, it is expected that value sales of wooden flooring will exceed value sales of carpets. Greater durability and easier maintenance have increased consumer preference for hard surface coverings as opposed to carpets in the US market. The growth of wooden floorings will allow more growth for multifunction robotic vacuum cleaners that can mop and vacuum together. 

Rising rate of female employment in Japan contributes to volume sales of robotic vacuum cleaners over 2012-2016 

Over 2012-2016, the number of female employees in Japan, both full-time and part-time, increased by 3% or more than 0.6 million over 5-year period. The increased number of working women in Japan plays an influential role in the volume growth of robotic vacuum cleaners, since more female consumers have less time to clean at home.


Key findings

Understanding Global Vacuum Cleaners Market

Middle East and Africa will post highest volume growth in cylinder
Australasia the only region showing volume decline in handheld
Stick vacuum cleaners will post highest growth in Western Europe
Upright is most promising in North America
Wet and dry vacuum cleaners continuously grow in Latin America
Steam vacuum cleaners unpopular in Asia Pacific and Australasia
Lower prices of robotic vacuum cleaners trigger growth in Asia
Robotic vacuum cleaners - rising stars across global markets
Summary 1 global vacuum cleaners overview

Factors Driving the Growth of Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

Increased female employment require ease in doing housework
Consumers with allergies avoid exposure to allergens
Pet owners find robotic vacuum cleaners more helpful
Price decrease in robotic vacuum cleaners triggers growth
Household space influences purchasing behaviour

Recent Product Development in Robotic Vacuum Cleaners

Connectivity an increasingly desired feature
Navigation patterns have been improved by mapping systems
Multifunctional features are more focused
Robotic vacuum cleaner run times have been extended

Growth Opportunity Markets and Key Insights

Developed markets drive growth in robotic vacuum cleaners
Impact of internet retailing influences price decreases in China
Unit price of robotic vacuum cleaners in China will continue dropping
Diversity and affordability made Ecovacs more popular in China
Robotic vacuum cleaners post highest growth of any type in the US
Product technology and effective advertising are iRobot’s strengths
Growth of hard flooring in the US opens room for multifunction type
Connectivity is a desired feature in the US
Robotic posts highest growth despite big price gap in Japan
Increased female employment boosts sales of robotic devices
Many manufacturers launch their new and first products in Japan
Noise from robotic vacuum cleaners poses threat in Japan
Robotic posts highest growth despite highest prices in the UK
Pet hair robotic vacuum cleaners expected to perform well in the UK
New entrants in the UK steal brand share from iRobot
Robotic and stick expected to replace cylinder in Australia
P reference for cordless function triggers growth in Australia
Robotic vacuum cleaners in Thailand remain limited to city dwellers
Rising numbers of single households in Thailand spur growth

What the Future Holds

What does the future hold for manufacturers?

Report Definitions

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