Silent and eco friendly

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Despite the current competitive pressures, the floorcare market continues to show healthy growth (there was a 4.3% volume increase in 2007, source GfK). Its good future prospects not only depend on continuous product development, but they will be aided of a number of emerging societal trends.
The speakers at the European Vacuum Cleaner Forum organised by Electrolux identified four main trends which will have a direct impact on consumer demand and expectations in relation to floorcare.  They are ‘deflationary’ time pressures, a growing ‘singles society’, affluence of baby boomers, and the lifestyle of health and sustainability.
The new consumer
“Our time budget is shrinking,” said Herman Konings, market researcher from Antwerp.  During the last seven years people have lost on average 2.5 hours of leisure time. Over the last 20 years, this loss has amounted to seven hours a week. This means that people will be increasingly more reluctant to spend time on household chores, and house cleaning will be done in between work and leisure. Therefore in the future, vacuuming must be possible at any time of the day, increasing demand for silent cleaners.
All major European cities will see a growth of over 10% in single households where living space will be smaller. Therefore their cleaning products need to be compact for easy storage.
The new generation of golden oldies are the 1960s baby boomers who are brand-led and accustomed to luxuries. They want a comfortable lifestyle and have the means to pay for it. However, the majority are conscious of waste and excess. They are prepared to invest in eco products, especially if they have eco-chic design. “There is a clear move from functional design towards emotional design, especially if it has ecological connotation,” commented Anton Lundberg, Electrolux Consumer Insight manager. He also quoted the findings of the Electrolux research showing that 70% of European consumers want their appliance to be environmentally friendly and 76% of them compare energy efficiency of products before the purchase.
The Green Vac
These consumer insights lead Electrolux (the European market leader in floorcare) to develop the Green Vac – Ultra Silencer. Its distinguishing feature is the fact that it is made with 55% recycled plastic which has reduced the energy consumed in manufacturing its components by 90%. It is also fitted with a 1,200W motor that uses 33% less energy than a standard 2,000W vacuum cleaner, while delivering the same dust pick-up, thanks to a specially developed nozzle. The product will become available in UK in early 2009.
Thomas Johansson, global design director, Electrolux Floorcare, commented to IER: “While developing the Eco Vac we wished to use as much recycled materials as possible while still being able to maintain our quality criteria. The final black colour of the product was the result of these efforts. This put a lot of pressure on our suppliers who had to deliver consistent quality and finish. We are now considering making all black parts of our other products using recycled materials.”
Electrolux has also unveiled four new ranges of vacuum cleaners for the UK market: the new Velocity Plus range of cyclonic uprights and an upright Professional Vacuum cleaner backed up by a five-year guarantee – delivering top performance; and for consumers seeking value for money products – the new Cyclone Power range of cylinder cleaners and the new Vitesse range of uprights. 

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