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Robot vacuum cleaners are still mostly for the early adopter tech crowd

Robot vacuum cleaners are still mostly for the early adopter tech crowd

New models shown at CES have better cleaning and navigation performance, but Interpret data suggests most Americans have no plans to purchase a robot vacuum.

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While robot vacuum cleaners have been around for 25 years and were popularized in the early 2000s by Roomba, few Americans actually own one or intend to purchase one in the near future, according to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, which shows that 14% of US consumers currently own a robot vacuum, with 13% intending to buy one for their home in the coming months. Robot vacuums remain a niche market, but that 13% represents another potential 15 million broadband-enabled households  for manufacturers like iRobot, Bissell, and Ecovacs to target.

At CES 2021, a number of companies put their latest robot vacuum tech on display in an effort to capture more consumers. For example, Samsung’s new JetBot 90 AI+ leverages 3D sensors and obstacle recognition to avoid sucking up items that you want to keep (like pens, phone chargers, shoelaces, etc.), and it can even empty itself, taking automated cleaning one step further. Newer models like the Roborock S7 and the Eufy RoboVac L80 also offer hybrid cleaning capabilities, allowing for either vacuuming or mopping, but these more sophisticated robot vacuums are sold at higher prices, ranging from $500 to $650. Cheaper models tend to range from $200 to $400, but still come with modern conveniences like support for companion apps with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities included.

Many consumers consider vacuuming a mundane, thankless chore and in theory should happily spend on a reliable robot vacuum to ease the burden of maintaining a clean home. A robot vacuum might be especially useful for pet owners who struggle to keep up with the removal of pet hair from flooring on a day-to-day basis.

Of course, there’s also the gadget loving crowd that always desires the newest technology. Interpret data finds that 36% of current robot vacuum owners in the US want to be the first to try a new technology product when it is released. This coincides with a younger demographic that tends to align with new technology, as 46% of robot vacuum owners are in the 18-34 age bracket. As cleaning performance improves and more tech features are added, Interpret expects the robot vacuum sector to continue to grow at a moderate pace.

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