issue: October 2013 ApplianceMagazine.com
Global Vacuum Cleaner Use
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Electrolux's worldwide survey seeks to find out how consumers vacuum: how often and how long consumers clean, how vacuum cleaners are stored between uses, and even what we wear (or don't wear) when vacuum cleaning.
The online survey garnered 28,000 respondents from 23 countries around the world. The result show significant variations in vacuuming habits between regions. One example: in South Korea almost one-third of respondents vacuum once per day; globally an average of only 13% of respondents vacuum every days.
The report also found global commonalities. For example, vacuum noise is rated the most annoying factor worldwide.
The survey also covered topics such as:
• criteria when making a vacuum purchase
• what music people listen to when vacuuming
• what kind of clothes people wear when vacuuming
"Understanding the consumers is essential for us in everything from prioritizing among research and development projects to the creation of our marketing strategies,” said Henrik Bergström, Head of Electrolux Small Appliances. “Having hard statistics about people’s attitudes allows us to focus on consumer-relevant innovations such as the new generation of UltraSilencer, which is possibly the quietest vacuum cleaner in the world.”
The survey asked respondents to choose which floor cleaning appliance type best described their primary vacuum cleaner. The responses:
• bagged canister vacuum cleaner: 46%
• bagless canister vacuum cleaner: 17%
• bagged upright vacuum cleaner: 6%
• bagless upright vacuum cleaner: 7%
• corded stick vacuum cleaner: 1%
• wet and dry vacuum cleaner: 4%
• steam cleaner: 1%
• central vacuum cleaner: 3%
• robotic vacuum cleaner: 1%
• does not own a vacuum cleaner for floors: 9%
The survey asked how frequently the respondents vacuumed:
• several times a day: 3%
• once a day: 13%
• 2-5 times per week: 33%
• once a week: 29%
• 2-3 times per month: 11%
• once a month or less often: 3%
The survey asked how long the respondents vacuumed each time they cleaned:
• less than 30 minutes: 43%
• 30 minutes-1 hour: 46%
• 1-2 hours: 10%
• 3-4 hours: 1%
• more than 4 hours: 0%
The survey found many differences in country-by-country vacuuming habits. Users in South Korea, Turkey, and Chile clean with their vacuum cleaner most frequently:
• South Koreans: 11% vacuum several times per day and 29% vacuum once a day.
• Turks: 13% vacuuming several times per day and 21% vacuum once a day.
• Chileans: 31% vacuum once a day.
Electrolux noted that these three countries have a high urban percentage of survey respondents, and said
dust in urban areas could be perceived as a bigger problem than in rural areas
The survey found that:
• In China, 17% of respondents vacuum just once a month.
• In Thailand, 16% of respondents vacuum just once a month.
Globally, an average of just 6% vacuum only once pr month.
The quickest cleaners live in South Korea and Japan, according to survey results—68% in these two countries spend less than 30 minutes per vacuuming session. Apartment sizes in these two countries are also smaller than the average. Globally, an average of 43% spend less than 30 minutes vacuuming.
The two countries that spend the most time vacuuming per session are the two Portuguese-speaking countries in the survey:
• In Brazil, 22% spend 1-2 hours cleaning with their vacuum, and another 3% spend 3-4 hours vacuuming.
• In Portugal, 20% spend 1-2 hours cleaning with their vacuum, and another 3% spend 3-4 hours vacuuming.
• Globally, an average of only 10% spend 1-2 hours vacuuming.
The survey also found gender differences:
• Globally, 14% of women vacuum once per day, compared to 12% of men.
• 35% of women vacuum 2-5 times per week, compared to 31% of men.
• 13% of women say they vacuum only 2‐3 times per month, compared to 10% of men.
• 6% of women say they vacuum once a month or less, compared to 5% of men.
The survey also found that younger users tend to vacuum more often:
• 16% of those respondents who are 18‐30 years old vacuum at least once per day, compared to 11% of those 61‐70 years old.
• 26% of those in the 31‐40 age group vacuum one time per week, compared to 33% of those in the 51‐60 and 61‐70 age groups.
The survey also found that 48% of those in the 18‐30 age group vacuum less than 30 minutes per session, compared to 41% of those in the over-50 age groups.
The survey also asked respondents about the time of day they typically vacuum. The average global results:
• vacuum in the morning: 38%
• vacuum in the afternoon: 28%
• vacuum in the evening: 9%
Most respondent—64%—vacuum about the same amount year-round. Some 13% vacuum less frequently in the summer.
Most respondents—69%—do a quick vacuuming in‐between their regular deep-cleaning sessions.
What We Wear (or Don't Wear) When Housecleaning
Electrolux's survey even included questions about the clothing that respondent wore while vacuuming. Among the more interesting findings: a small but measurable share of respondents vacuum naked.
What respondents typically wear when vacuuming:
• casual clothing: 69%
• tracksuit/athletic clothing: 21%
• underwear only: 4%
• no clothes/naked: 2%
• work clothes: 5%
The survey even breaks out nude vacuum users by country. Among those that vacuum in the buff most often:
• Norway: 3.7% of respondents
• Sweden: 3%
• United States: 3%
• Canada: 2.6% of respondents
• Finland: 2.5%
At the other end of the nude-vacuuming spectrum are Chile and Japan—in both countries, just 0.1% of respondents say they vacuum in the nude.
Respondents in Colombia rarely vacuum naked—just 0.3% of respondents—but they do have a tendency to strip to their skivvies more often when vacuuming. The survey found that:
• In Columbia, 13.2% of respondents vacuum in just their underwear.
• In Finland, 8.4% vacuum in just their underwear.
• In Chile, 8.1% vacuum in just their underwear.
• Globally, an average of 4% of respondents vacuum in just their underwear.
The Electrolux survey found that, worldwide, men are more likely to vacuum in little or no clothing than are women:
• 2.5% of men vacuum naked, compared to 0.6% of women
• 5.7% of men vacuum in their underwear, compared to 2.4% of women.
The survey asked what else respondents do while vacuuming:
• 36% of respondents listen to music
• 15% listen to the radio
• 2% exercise
• 3% dance
• 2% speak on the phone
• 3% solve problems
• 4% let go of aggressions
• 24% let their thoughts wander
• 27% think about the vacuuming
• 27% think of something else or nothing
Vacuum Cleaner Storage
Where do users worldwide tend to keep their floor care appliances when no in use:
• in a cabinet or closet: 42%
• under a bed: 2%
• behind a door: 9%
• in the garage: 4%
• in the basement: 3%
• in the attic: 1%
Some users do not hide away their vacuum cleaner—they keep it out in the open in a room of their home:
• kitchen: 3%
• bedroom: 6%
• living room: 5%
• hallway: 6%
• bathroom: 1%
• other room: 16%
South Korea is somewhat unique in its vacuum cleaner storage preferences:
• Just 8% of South Korean respondent store their vacuum cleaner away in a cabinet or closet.
• 27% kept their vacuum cleaner out, in the living room (globally only 5% of respondents do so).
Other nations that are more-inclined to keep their vacuum cleaner out in the living room:
• Japan: 16% of respondents
• China: 11%
Keeping the vacuum out in the open in the hallway:
• Norway, 14% of respondents
• Poland: 13%
• UK: 13%
• Global average: 6%
Keeping the vacuum out in the open in the bedroom:
• Turkey: 19%
• Global average: 6%
Getting the Kids to Help with the Vacuuming
Global opinions on the right age for kids to start helping out with vacuuming:
• Kids younger than 3 years old should start helping with the vacuuming: 2%
• Kids 3-5 years old: 6%
• Kids 6-8 years old: 19%
• Kids 9-11 years old: 30%
• Kids 12-14 years old: 29%
• Kids 15-17 years old: 10%
• Kids 18 and older: 2%
• Never: 2%
Countries in which high shares of respondents think 3-5 years is a good time to start kids vacuuming:
• Finland: 26%
• Poland: 13%
• Russia: 12%
• Norway: 11%
• Global average: 6%
More respondents in Finland, Poland, and Russia tend to think kids can start helping with the vacuuming in the 6-8 year-old range. These three countries all have 36% to 38% of respondents who share this opinion, compared to the global average of 19%.
In South Korea and in Turkey the respondents tend to think kids should be older before starting to help with the vacuuming. In both these countries 30% (compared to a global average of 10%) think kids should be in the 15-17 age range to start vacuuming. The "18 and over" option also garners a large share in these countries—9% of South Koreans and 10% of Turks think kids should be 18 or older before helping with the vacuuming.
Globally, 62% of under-18, live-at-home children help with the vacuuming. Some regional differences:
• Thailand: 84% of under-18 kids help out with the vacuuming
• China: 78%
• Russia: 78%
Annoyance Factors and Vacuum Satisfaction
What annoys users about their floor care appliances:
• noise level: 36%
• low suction/dust pickup: 17%
• handling the vacuum cleaner: 6%
• emptying the dust container: 14%
• weight of the vacuum cleaner: 3%
• bad smell of the exhaust air: 5%
• clogs in the nozzle or tube: 7%
• a tangled brush-roll: 4%
• none of these: 7%
The survey also asked users to describe how they feel upon completing vacuuming. Globally, respondents felt:
• happier: 9%
• calmer: 6%
• healthier: 6%
• satisfied: 30%
• tired: 11%
• relieved: 12%
• bored: 1%
• proud of themselves: 3%
• nothing special: 21%
Electrolux's survey specifically asked respondents to speak to their thoughts on the problem of a tangled brush roll. It found that:
• 31% think untangling the brush role is "not at all irritating"
• 44% think the job is "somewhat irritating"
• 17% think the job is "irritating"
• 7% think the job is "very irritating"
The survey also asked respondents to choose the single most important factor they look for when buying a vacuum cleaner. The results:
• design: 1%
• power (wattage): 16%
• electricity consumption: 5%
• dust pickup: 30%
• easy handling: 9%
• weight: 2%
• easy emptying: 3%
• price: 9%
• brand: 2%
• finish: 0%
• quality/durability: 15%
• size: 0%
• color: 0%
• sound level: 5%
• clean exhaust air: 3%
Individual countries have their own ideas about what the most important factor in a vacuum cleaner.
Dust pickup is the single most important factor to buyers worldwide, at 30% of respondents. That preference can range much higher: 57% of respondents from China and 50% of respondents from Russia. It can also be much lower—dust pickup was the most important factor for 9% of respondents in Mexico and Argentina and 7% of those from Columbia and France.
In France, power/wattage is the No. 1 factor—listed by 35% of respondents from France. It's also the top choice for 25% of those from Germany and from Turkey. At the other end of the spectrum, this attribute was listed as the most important factor but just 5% of those from Sweden, 4% of those from Finland, and 2% of those from China. The global average for this factor was 16%
Quality/durability was the third most important factor, with a worldwide average of 15% of respondents calling it their most important attribute. This attribute was the top pick by 30% of those from Thailand, 27% of those from Columbia, and 25% of those from the United States. In China it is quite a bit lower, at 3%, and in Japan it is at 2%.