Kärcher on Innovation, Connectivity and Urbanisation

A common trend: people want cleaner homes

While trends change in markets across the world, a common trend is that householders want a clean home. This, Christian May, Managing Director Retail Channels at Kärcher, said was recently confirmed again by an international study conducted on its behalf.

Cleaning is still very important. The trends we observe are that machines must be intuitive and easy to operate as well as time saving. This is certainly one reason why we now enjoy using robots as little helpers for cleaning around the home.

How has technology changed cleaning habits? 

Innovations have always influenced the behaviour of people. When it comes down to cleaning, window cleaning is a good example. Ten years ago, there was no machine that could have made this unpopular and time-consuming chore of window cleaning much easier. One year later, we launched the first Window vac onto the market, which cleans all smooth surfaces quickly, easily and streak-free. In the meantime, we have sold 21 million machines and created a completely new market. There are many unsolved cleaning problems and we at Kärcher are working everyday towards finding a solution.

What does the future look like for home cleaning and urban living? 

A mega trend, which has a distinct influence on cleaning around the home, is increasing global urbanisation. According to UN statistics, more than 54% of people live in urban areas and this number is growing. What this means can be seen in Japan today for example: small homes with little space. That is why cleaning machines like vacuums have to be smaller for easy storage with the same cleaning capacity as common sledge-type vacuum cleaners. On the other hand, they must look attractive as there is often no storage space in the kitchen cupboard and the vacuum cleaner then has to be stored openly in the home.
From a technological point of view, connectivity will also play an increasingly important role in cleaning. For example, sensors would be able to automatically detect when the oven needs cleaning. This would then be automatically included in the personal cleaning schedule on a mobile phone or miniature cleaning drones would carry out the work.

What are your key innovations that you are launching at IFA? 

At the IFA, we are presenting our entire Home & Garden product range from pressure washers to window vacs. Two machines in particular stand out due to their compact design, namely our vacuum cleaner VC 5 and the Mobile Outdoor Cleaner OC 3.

What features and benefits do your new products have? 

Both products are closely connected with the already mentioned future trends. The VC 5 is characterised by a compact design and high cleaning performance. This vacuum cleaner is no bigger than two shoe boxes and can be stored in a drawer. Despite its size, it has the high cleaning performance of a standard vacuum cleaner and is a versatile helper on a daily basis.
The Mobile Outdoor Cleaner OC 3 is also ideal on a daily basis for many of our customers: people who want to avoid carrying dirt back home after enjoying outdoor activities, e.g. by cleaning their bicycles, prams or walking boots whilst out and about. The cleaner is battery-powered with its own water tank. It can be used independently anywhere and is no bigger than a bicycle basket.


How important to Kärcher is IFA as a trade platform? 

For years, the IFA has been the most important retail exhibition for Kärcher. This is where we meet national and international trading partners and receive direct feedback on our machines from end customers at our booth.

Photo: Christian May, Managing Director Retail Channels, Kärcher