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Study: Floor care industry is cleaning up online

A report from Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group shows online sales of floor care products are way up.

The NPD Group estimates that online purchases for U.S. floor care products increased 31% in dollar sales in 2012, versus 2011. Online sales accounted for 16% of total floor care dollars in 2012.


Floor care products that command significantly higher-than-average price points are more likely to be sold online.  That’s why it’s no surprise the average price of floor care products purchased online in 2012 was 50% higher than average in-store prices. Interestingly, more than half (53%) of robotic vacuum dollar sales came from online purchases due mainly to its more limited brick-and-mortar distribution and overall premium pricing. This percentage far exceeds the floor care industry average of 17% of purchases made online.

“The e-commerce channel is helping to build the higher-priced floor care category. This is rooted in consumers’ interest in researching these higher-end products and their limited distribution in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The Web is the ideal venue to educate the consumer by offering more innovative products,” said Debra Mednick, executive director and home industry analyst for The NPD Group. 

In addition to healthy online sales, a mix of higher-priced floor care products helped trigger 2012 floor care growth in many brick-and-mortar stores. Products priced between $150 and $249.99, $250 and $349.99, and $500 and above all posted unit growth, outpacing the overall floor care market.

Brick-and-mortar stores that generated the biggest dollar share increases in total floor care in 2012 included specialty stores, warehouse clubs and hardware/home centers. All of these channels gained market share at the expense of mass and national chains. 

“Brand, technology and innovation matter, but price is still always top of mind. With the increased and simplified access to product information and reviews, more and more consumers are doing their research. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of purchasing a higher-priced product. Clearly consumers who have the financial means are sending the signal of seeking products that they believe will deliver results and make their lives easier,” said Mednick. 

“Moving into 2013, retailers and manufacturers that offer a varied assortment with a premium option and assist consumers with the necessary comparative shopping environment are best posed to ‘win’ in floor care,” ended Mednick.

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