Dust mite vacuums on a rise driven by social e-commerce

Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance magazine (written by He Jiqiong from GfK China)

The rise of young consumers who prefer interactive shopping experiences leads to a growth in the number of online consumers who purchase things through short videos and live streaming. Douyin (the Chinese TikTok), a typical social e-commerce platform that offers huge traffic with its 600 million daily active users, has become a key sales channel for home appliances.

Vacuum cleaners stand out with strong social e-commerce platform sales due to the eye-popping cleaning display in short videos and live streams. Among them, dust mite vacuums have seized the opportunity to tap into a niche yet promising market.

Social e-commerce, a key channel for sales growth

The huge traffic, massive consumer base and strong consumer stickiness of short video platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou lay a solid foundation for the development of e-commerce business.

According to retail monitoring data from GfK China Market Monitor, the home appliance market on social e-commerce platforms reached 18.4 billion Yuan from January to May 2023, a year-on-year growth of 111%, accounting for 15% of the overall online market.

Among them, vacuum cleaners made a highlight. From January to May 2023, the market size of vacuum cleaning appliances on social e-commerce platforms reached 3.3 billion Yuan, a year-on-year growth of 75%, accounting for 29% of the online market for vacuum cleaning appliances. This represents an increase of 11 percentage points compared to the previous year. In terms of specific categories, floor washers ranked first by retail sales value, accounting for 57% of the market and achieving a 143% year-on-year growth in retail sales value, while dust mite vacuums ranked first by retail sales volume, with a total of 2.92 million units sold on social e-commerce platforms from January to May 2023, a year-on-year growth of 40%.

Dust mite vacuum, a niche yet promising market

In recent years, the rapid rise of concepts such as "exquisite living" and "efficient cleaning" has led to a surge in popularity for emerging categories such as floor washers and robot vacuums with fully automatic base station, driving the overall growth of the cleaning appliance market. Amid this unprecedented popularity, the market for dust mite vacuums, although seemingly insignificant, stand out as a highlight.

With increasing attention paid to home environments and the growing awareness of dust mite hazards, the demand for dust mite vacuums rises, pointing to a bright prospect of the industry. In the past three years, the health-oriented dust mite vacuum market has maintained double-digit growth. Data from GfK China Market Monitor shows that the market size of dust mite vacuums has grown from 1.4 billion Yuan in 2019 to 2.2 billion Yuan in 2022, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 16%. From January to May 2023, the market size of dust mite vacuums reached 1.1 billion Yuan, a year-on-year growth of 2%.

Diversified channels that offers new possibilities for sales growth

As a small-sized, low-priced and installation-free product, dust mite vacuums are very suitable for online sales which already accounted for 94% of the dust mite vacuum market back in 2019.

From traditional e-commerce to social e-commerce, the diversified channel development has provided more opportunities for the dust mite vacuum market. Unlike the traditional e-commerce platform's "people finding goods" sales model, short video social e-commerce platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou adopt a "goods finding people" sales model with interesting contents that stimulate consumers’ purchasing needs, which makes it a promising sales platform for dust mite vacuums which have an advantage in cleaning performance demonstration. In 2021, online sales accounted for 97% of the dust mite vacuum market with 80% from traditional e-commerce and 17% social e-commerce. From January to May 2023, social e-commerce rose to account for half of the online market for dust mite vacuums, with a market size of 500 million Yuan, a year-on-year growth of 55%.

Brands empowered by social e-commerce

The increasing market popularity attracts more and more brands such as Uwant, Morphy Richards, Konka and GIRYLIRD to dip their toes into the dust mite vacuum market. They inject new vitality into the market while seek opportunities on social e-commerce to overtake their competitors.

From January to May 2023, the number of dust mite vacuum brands in the traditional e-commerce platforms increased rapidly from 86 to 108, with a growth rate of 26%. At the same time, social e-commerce platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou draw in many brands of the category. As of May 2023, there were 93 dust mite vacuum brands on social e-commerce platforms, a year-on-year growth of 69%, much faster than the growth rate of brands on traditional e-commerce platforms.

With more industry players joined, the competition becomes fiercer in the online market particularly at traditional e-commerce platforms which saw a reduction in market concentration with the combined market share of the top three brands down from 58% from January to May 2022 to 52% in the same period of 2023. But leading brands such as Lexy still maintains a relatively stable position in the short term. In the social e-commerce market, some emerging brands build their brand awareness fast with exposure and traffic from live streaming, short videos, and other new marketing methods. As of May 2023, the top three brands in the social e-commerce market accounted for 66% of the market share, a year-on-year increase of 26 percentage points. Social e-commerce has become the best platform for emerging brands to accelerate growth, putting pressure on traditional leading brands and further stimulating market vitality.

However, the future of the dust mite vacuum market is not without challenges. Currently, the market is still in the early stage of development though the market prospect is great. To sustain the fast growth, the hidden concerns behind the growth needs to be addressed.

Firstly, the low technological barriers of the category led to a mix of products with good and bad quality on the market. Despite the variety of functions such as tapping, strong suction and ultraviolet light, the mite removal effect still falls short of consumers expectations, failing to address the pain points of consumers.

Secondly, handheld vacuum cleaners with mite removal functions still take a large share of market due to its advantages over dust mite vacuums which are used in only one scenario. Additionally, the cleaning effectiveness of dust mite vacuums cannot be visualized, leading to consumer doubts about the cleanliness they provide.

Overall, the market for dust mite vacuums is niche but promising, yet the products still have some shortcomings. At this stage, the industry needs to upgrade and iterate product functions based on consumer usage needs and pain points.