Cleaning Category Sweeps up at IFA

Sales of washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners are more than holding their own

Washing machines are a household essential and will be replaced as a matter of urgency when they go wrong. Manufacturers have forged ahead with innovative products in the market for laundry appliances.
The capacity of the drum in a typical washing machine was 6kg around five years ago and now there are appliances, with the same standard cabinet size, with drum sizes up to 13kg.

This, and other advancements including connected appliances and higher energy efficiency, is encouraging consumers to pay extra when they buy an appliance. At the same time intense competition in the marketplace means that prices have fallen in real terms, so that today’s customers are getting more for less money.

POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN EUROPE

Thanks to low interest rates and a good economic situation, consumers in Western Europe are also digging a bit deeper into their pockets when purchasing new ovens, refrigerators or dishwashers.

While overall sales in this region were stagnant for the first half of the year, an increase of about 3% was recorded for built-in appliances, GfK said. Premium segments like built-in dishwasher (up 3.7%) sold especially well.

In Eastern Europe, fewer households are equipped with tumble dryers than in Western Europe. Therefore, further above-average growth can be expected in this segment in upcoming years.

In China, thanks to growing incomes and an increasingly consumption-oriented middle class, demand for household appliances increased during the first half of this year by nearly 10%. Built-in appliances like dishwashers make up a small but strongly growing segment.

SALES OF HANDSTICK VACUUM CLEANERS DRIVING FLOORCARE CATEGORY 

In floorcare, the topic of convenience is becoming increasingly important. In the area of floor cleaning, cordless handstick vacuum cleaners continued their success story in the countries tracked by GfK. The considerable sales growth of recent years is continuing (up 45%) and the sales volume is now over €1.2bn.

In China, cordless handstick vacuum cleaners were up 172%; in Europe, cordless handstick vacuum cleaners up 30%.

Sales of robot vacuum cleaners also rose by 22% to €612 million in the first six months of 2017, according to GfK.

Connectivity with smartphones is becoming more and more important for small domestic appliances. In the robotic vacuum cleaner segment, products that are controlled by apps are increasingly popular with consumers.

The value-based market share of connected appliances in Western Europe is currently 26%, compared to 9% the previous year, GfK said.

The EU law to ban more powerful vacuum cleaners coincided with the first day of IFA. The new EU energy rule means manufacturers are not able to make or import vacuum cleaners with a motor that exceeds 900W.

Vacuum cleaners are subject to EU energy labelling and ecodesign requirements, and the European Commission says that switching to one of the most energy efficient models, people can save €70 over the lifetime of the product.

With more efficient vacuum cleaners, Europe as a whole can save up to 20 TWh of electricity per year by 2020, the European Commission says. This is equivalent to the annual household electricity consumption of Belgium.

45% SALES OF CORDLESS HANDSTICK VACUUM CLEANERS JUMPED 45% IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2017


3.7% BUILT-IN DISHWASHER MARKET GREW 3.7% IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2017


22% SALES OF ROBOT VACUUM CLEANERS GREW BY 22% IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2017.