Canister U.S. Sales Boosted By Imports

CHICAGO–Canister vacuum cleaner sales are continuing to play a game of catchup with uprights–the most popular cleaner category in the country. But this year, the sales gap between the two categories has narrowed to 4.3 million uprights sold vs. 3.2 million canisters.

The growth in canisters, especially in the high-end market, industry experts agree, is the result of the determination by foreign producers to capture a share of the American market with a strategy that is based on what they do best–the manufacture of canister cleaners.

Importers who have already established a solid base in this country with canisters include Sharp Electronics, Toshiba and Miele Appliances. Americans joining in the surge of canisters include The Eureka Co. (with its Express line), The Hoover Co. (Dimension canisters) and Whirlpool Corp.

Companies planning on canister introductions next year include Bionaire Corp.–which will introduce units at next Spring’s NHMA Show, and distribution by Schawbel Corp. of Rowenta canisters.

David Allen, division vp/marketing communications for Whirlpool, explained that high-end canister introductions by U.S. and foreign manufacturers is the result of the growth potential of the category. “If anyone enters this market (canisters) they’re not going to come in at the low-end. The high-end is where the profit is. [Read more…]


Eureka To Intro 2-SKU Express Vac

CHICAGO–The Eureka Co. will round out its new “family” of vacuum cleaners at next week’s NHMA Show with the introduction of the Express –a two SKU line of electronic canister cleaners.

“We now have a family of products that all blend together in design, so the consumer can see we’re designing our products with ease of use and quality in mind,” Gil Dorsey, vp/marketing, told Housewares.

Eureka began its revolution in vacuum cleaner design in 1982 with the introduction of the Mighty Mite compact cleaner, then extended its design concepts with the 1984 introduction of the Ultra upright. The Express is designed to be economical and lightweight and features a clean, high-tech look.

“We’ve updated the canister with the user in mind,” Dorsey explained.

Production of the Express line began last month, and features top-of-the line Model 8290. With a $449.95 suggested retail, it features a 4.3 peak horsepower motor, an illuminated, solid state variable poiwer selector, a 25-foot cord and is pewter on greystone with java trim.

The Express also features Model 8283, in steel blue on greystone with java trim. This 4.0 peak horsepower unit has a suggested retail of $349.95, and a 20-foot cord.

Both Express units weigh 14 pounds, and feature the low profile Roto-Matic powerhead with automatic carpet height adjustment, a steel, power-driven Vibra-Groomer III brush roll, Edge and Corner Kleener, electronic bag change indicator, and outboarded wheels on the powerhead for added stability and turning power. [Read more…]


Sharp includes uprights in vac line expansion

PARAMUS, NJ–Sharp Electronics’ three stage entry into the vacuum cleaner market will be completed next Fall with the addition of five uprights, three pastel-colored canisters and three powerhead canisters and one turbine unit.

According to Mike Williamson, national sales manager, “Since the introduction of stage one last February, our major concentration in distribution has been with individual retailers. With the unveiling of a fu ll line of cleaners next year we will be able to go to other areas of distribution.

“Our plans,” Williamson stressed, “are to be an influence in the marketplace with something a little different, and our decision to divide our introductions into three stages was necessary for us to get our sales force and distribution network established.”

The canisters in stage one of Sharp’s vacuum cleaner line have been labeled “the quiet line.” Williamson noted u nits in stage two and three will also feature a quiet muffler and lightweight plastic construction. Each model in stage one weighs less than 11-1/2 pounds. “What we have tried to do is meet the needs of the consumer by making vaccum cleaning easier and more pleasant,” he said.

Stage one units also feature a “permanent dustbag,” a removable cartridge for dirt collection. “A cartridge saves money on replacing bags, as well as minimizing the mess involed in emptying a bag,” Williamson explained. “Our cleaners even indicated when iths time to empty the cartridge.” [Read more…]


Changes Sweeping The Market


New lifestyles, newcomers challenge industry

One of the most traditional of businesses, vacuum cleaners, has been experiencing some significant changes.

The total market, as traditionally defined, may not be growing substantially, but some important developments are changing the industry:

–The consumer penchant today for more than one vac, exemplified by the popularity of the Dustbuster and substantiated by the anticipated growth of stick vacs and wet-day models.

–Product changes fueled by demographics. While a super-performance class is developing, lightweight and convenience features are becoming more important as the population ages and seeks labor saving tools.

–An influx of foreign suppliers moving to challenge the long established giants, Hoover and Eureka, who each claims 32 to 35 percent share of market. Sharp Electronics, Whirlpool, Miele Apppliances and Moulinex/Hamilton Beach have entered the American market within the year. At the same time, Pansonic, Black + Decker bdh2000plĀ and Sanyo are beefing up their lines to strengthen their position here -Market: the best car vacuum cleaner. [Read more…]


U.S. Vac Mfrs. Undaunted By Imports

BRIDGEPORT, CT–Domestic floor care manufacturers are by far and away the winners in the import war. Unlike their peers in the glassware and cookware industries, who have suffered tremendous blows from imports in recent years, domestic vacum cleaner manufacturers report little if any interference from overseas.

A report on imports from the U.S. Department of Commerce substantiates the strength of domestic vac manufacturers. Full-size vac imports in 1984 totaled 434,000 units, a figure that barely makes a dent in sales reported by domestic manufacturers of nearly 8.1 million units.

And while that same government report notes that imports of rechargeable hand vacs reached the 1.8 million unit level in 1984, domestic manufacturers remain unworried. A Black & Decker spokesperson stated that even though more rechargeable hand vacs are entering this country under well-known brand names, consumers realize the low quality and performance of the units, and will remain loyal to higher quality products like the Dustbuster line.

“The hand-held market has continued to expand,” the B&D spokesperson continued, “so imports have not impacted domestic manufacturers.” She added that while imports are not yet a substantial part of the rechargeable hand-held market, “they’re a continuing factor.” [Read more…]


Vac Suppliers Holding Major Intros For ’86

CHICAGO–For vacuum cleaner manufacturers, next week’s NHMA Show will rank second in importance to the Spring ’86 Show. Many are holding introductions until Spring, when the timing will be attuned to retailer’s buying cycles.

One major introduction in the vac market, however, will take place next week. Eureka’s Express, a two-SKU line of high-end canisters will be unveiled at McCormick Place Booth 4547. (See related story, page 1).

Cosmo Communications Corp. will introduce a 110-watt hand vac, which is a step-up model to its original rechargeable model. It features three power levels. This compact unit, with a suggested retail price of $24.99, comes in four-color gift box packaging.

Also being introduced by Cosmo will be a rechargeable vac/light combination in a wall holder. The unit, with a suggested retail price of $19.99, changes from vac to light by twisting off the nozzle.

Douglas Products is highlighting its ReadiVac 3.6 rechargeable model 6730, which comes with dusting brush and crevice cleaner for $29.99. [Read more…]