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NPD: Floor Care Sales See Substantial Gain Online

The NPD Group, Inc., today reported estimates that online purchases for floor care products in the United States increased 31% in dollar sales in 2012 versus 2011. Online sales accounted for 16% of total floor care dollars in 2012.

According to NPD, floor care products that command significantly higher-than-average pricepoints are more likely to be sold online. That’s why the company said it’s no surprise that the average price of floor care products purchased online in 2012 was 50% higher than the average in-store purchase price. NPD also reported that 53% of robotic vacuum dollar sales came from online purchases, due mainly to 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,” said Debra Mednick, NPD executive director and home industry analyst. “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.”

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, NPD asserted. Products priced at $150 to $249.99, $250 to $349.99, and $500 and above all posted unit growth, outpacing the overall floor care market, according to NPD.

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,” said Mednick. “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.”