Consumers pull away from canisters

Recent trends in the floor care market appear to have consumers moving away from straight suction canisters to more units with power heads, which may change the way canisters are being positioned in the marketplace.

Through the first five months of this year, unit sales of canister vacs have decreased by 7 percent from the same period in 1989. However, total dollar volume was slightly up from the first five months of last year.

Some have attributed that to the growth of power teams, canister units with the power to clean deep pile carpet while maintaining the versatility of cleaning bare floors, upholstery and drapery.

A growing number of floor care manufacturers have entered the U.S. over the past 10 years, either from Japan or Western Europe, with sleek powerful canister vacs that have been proven successes in the world market. The U.S. remains the only market in the world floor-care industry in which uprights outsell canisters.

Some maintain the market dominance by U.S. manufacturers rests in the failure of canisters to gain market share here. While nobody has seriously threatened the market dominance of a Hoover or a Eureka, a growing number of these foreign manufacturers have entered the market with increasingly sophisticated and versatile canisters that may better penetrate the U.S. market.

The upscale canister, usually with a power nozzle, represents the future direction of the canister market, according to manufacturers. The canister category is up in dollars, and that’s due to the sophisticated buyer at the high end. There are more features in canisters now, and that’s driving the price up.

Despite that, I don’t think price is an issue in canisters. These models have to be demonstrated. A lot of the emphasis on canisters has been in the high end. The $229 and higher vacuum cleaners are being seen more and more in the independent vacuum shop. best lightweight upright vacuum

However, I think more people are going towards buying an upright. One of the reasons for that is the motor bypass system, which is basically a canister in an upright position with the attachments hooking up in the back. In the long run, the more bypass systems you see in the industry, the fewer canisters will be sold.

Traditionally, people would buy uprights to clean carpets and they would buy canisters to clean drapes and upholstery. That’s why we feel so strongly about the premise of a bypass system. In lieu of buying two vacuum cleaners, all you need is one — as long as you buy the accessories.

I think one of the main things that you’ll see is more manufacturers going to a convenient handle grip. More manufacturers will be going towards the slick Japanese or European look as far as the cosmetics of the machine. The key word in the industry, of course, is always convenience.

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