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How has the wattage of vacuum cleaners changed in the last year?

By Chris Elliott

In 2014 Brand View reviewed the range of vacuum cleaners available to shoppers in the UK, following the introduction of EU legislation which banned the manufacture or import of vacuum cleaners that exceeded 1600 watts.

Now, a year on, we have re-analysed the Vacuum Cleaner category in major UK retailers to see how it has evolved since the legislation was introduced and created an infographic which summarises the key changes.

Eu Pull the plug Vacuum Infographic

Despite the legislation, retailers can still sell vacuum cleaners with a wattage over 1600W, providing manufacturers can prove that they have not been imported or made in the UK after the 1 September 2014 deadline.

Vacuum cleaner wattage changes since EU legislation was introduced

Brand View has reviewed the changes to the cylinder and upright vacuum cleaner range in ao.com, Argos, Co-operative Electrical, Currys and John Lewis.

In the six weeks following the introduction of the EU legislation (1 September 2014) there was a large decrease in average vacuum cleaner wattage across ao.com, Co-operative Electrical, Currys and John Lewis – each retailer delisted high wattage vacuum cleaners and replaced them with lower wattage alternatives.

Argos’ average vacuum cleaner wattage did not drop as drastically, as it already listed a large number of low wattage vacuum cleaners. On 1 September 2014 just 8.6 percent of the vacuum range in Argos was over 1600W. In contrast, Currys had the greatest percentage of its range above 1600W at 36.4 percent. Therefore, in the last 12 months, Currys has seen the greatest decrease in average vacuum wattage, falling 41.6 percent from 1539W to 899W.

One year on, on 31 August 2015, John Lewis was the retailer with the highest average wattage at 1032W, having fallen 26.3 percent from 1400W on 1 September 2014.

average wattage of cylinder vacuums

Retailers continue to list 1600W+ vacuums

In all retailers analysed there were just five products listed that exceeded 1600W on 31 August 2015.

Co-operative Electrical listed the Hoover TSBU2000 Sprint Evo which has a motor power of 2000W. Ao.com listed the Hoover Whirlwind Bagless TSPW2100 and the Samsung F600G Power Hygiene Sensor Easy which both have a motor power of 2100W.

Finally, John Lewis listed two Vax vacuum cleaners, the Vax C88-AM-P Air Mini Pet and the Vax C89-P6N-P Power 6 Pet, which have motor powers of 2000W and 2200W respectively.

vax cleaner
John Lewis website 2 September 2015


Future of the vacuum cleaner market

On 1 September 2017 further restrictions will be imposed on manufacturers, limiting the permitted wattage for manufacture and import further, to just 900W.

Brand View has reviewed the top 10 most-listed vacuum cleaner brands, in the aforementioned retailers, to identify the proportion of each brand’s range which conforms to this new limit.

On 31 August 2015 Bosch and Hoover had over 93 percent of their range below the new 900W threshold. Bosch had just one listing above 900W and Hoover had four.

Zanussi will be most affected by the new legislation; all but one of its 15 listings exceeded the 900W limit. Dyson will also have to review its range, as 29 of its 44 listings had a motor power greater than 900W.

percentage of vacuum cleaner range 900 watts

Percentage of range less than 900W by retailer

On 31 August 2015 Currys had the greatest percentage of its range less than or equal to 900W at 71.9 percent. The majority of its vacuum cleaners above 900W were Dyson and Miele. Currys and John Lewis were the only retailers analysed that did not stock Zanussi vacuum cleaners.

Following the legislation, John Lewis will need to make the most changes in terms of range; it had the smallest percentage of range less than or equal to 900W with 50.6 percent. The worst offending brand was Sebo – two thirds of Sebo listings in John Lewis were above 900W.

percentage vacuum cleaners by retailer

We can expect retailers to gradually delist higher power vacuum cleaners over the next two years as manufacturers introduce new, lower wattage machines. However, taking into account the large sales uplift of high power vacuum cleaners seen in August 2014, retailers could witness a similar uplift in sales of 1600W vacuums before the 1 September 2017 enforcement date.

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