MIL-OSI China: Chinese robotic vacuums sweep up overseas mkt

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Source: China State Council Information Office

Chinese robotic vacuum cleaner manufacturers are accelerating steps to expand their footprint in overseas markets, with a key focus on upgrading products and improving technological innovation capacities amid a broader push to bolster global sales and enhance international influence and brand recognition, industry experts said.

According to a report released by Beijing-based market consultancy All View Cloud, which specializes in home appliances research, sales revenue of robotic vacuum cleaners in China reached 3.1 billion yuan ($427.9 million) during the January-April period, an increase of 22 percent year-on-year, while sales volume stood at 1.02 million units, up 17 percent on a yearly basis.

The report said although the average price of robotic vacuum cleaners is 3,080 yuan, products with prices ranging from 3,500 to 4,000 yuan witnessed the fastest growth in terms of market share. The proportion of high-end and smart vacuum cleaners priced above 5,000 yuan also increased significantly.

AVC said Chinese-made robotic vacuum cleaners have gained popularity among overseas consumers, especially those in Germany, the United States, Japan and Australia, as major Chinese cleaning appliance makers have invested heavily in promoting technological advances and optimizing product functions to cater to the diversified and personalized needs of shoppers overseas.

Guo Renjie, president of Chinese intelligent home appliance company Dreame Technology, said the company’s export revenue surged more than 120 percent year-on-year in 2023, with global sales of robotic vacuum cleaners surpassing 2.4 million units, skyrocketing 300 percent from a year earlier.

Currently, Dreame Technology’s products are available in more than 100 countries and regions, including Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa and South America, and about 65 percent of its revenue comes from exports, Guo said.

He said the company is eyeing huge growth potential from the high-end robotic vacuum market, and the compound annual growth rate of its revenue has surpassed 100 percent from 2019 to 2023. Guo emphasized that they will increase investment in research and development, expand retail channels overseas and bolster global operating capacity.

The number of its brick-and-mortar stores reached over 4,000 across the globe, and its robotic vacuum cleaners have captured the top spot in Germany, Italy and Singapore by market share. Guo said the annual expenditure in R&D accounts for more than 10 percent of its total revenue and over 65 percent of employees are now engaged in R&D.

Guo Meide, president of AVC, said, “China’s cleaning appliances industry is expected to witness speedy growth fueled by advances in technology and product iteration, as well as the gradual release of immense consumption potential from smaller cities.”

Experts said a slew of cutting-edge digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence-powered algorithms, voice control capability alongside intelligent mapping and navigation to avoid collisions with obstacles, have been increasingly applied in smart vacuum cleaners to meet evolving consumer needs.

Chinese tech company Roborock is speeding up its globalization push, with its robotic vacuum cleaners having been sold in more than 170 countries and regions. Data from market research firm Euromonitor International showed that Roborock has become the top-selling brand of smart vacuum cleaners worldwide in terms of global sales last year.

Quan Gang, president of Roborock, said the company has invested over 1.9 billion yuan in R&D in the past 10 years and will continue to pour capital into this area. At present, the global penetration rate of robotic vacuum cleaners is very low, which presents huge development potential, he added.

Roborock said it emphasizes technological innovation and plans to expand its global footprint by introducing more innovative products that cater to the needs of global users.

Competition in the robotic vacuum cleaner sector is intensifying as high-tech companies are improving their in-house innovation capacities and applying AI-powered large language models to make the products more intelligent, said Liang Zhenpeng, an independent consumer electronics analyst.

Liang said Chinese intelligent home appliance makers are stepping up their operations in the global market to improve competitiveness and foster a new growth engine for their long-term development, which will also give a big boost to the transformation and upgrading of traditional manufacturing.

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