Attention Xiaomi and Ecovacs, iRobot’s full-scale attack on China’s sweeping robot market starts now

AsiaIndustrial NetNews: Recently, the world’s leading householdrobotThe company, especially iRobot, which is famous for its sweeping Robots, held a press conference in Shanghai. Although no new products were released, iRobot put together the 9 series flagship Roomba, which was first released in 2015, together with the mid-range 8 series and 6 series sweeping robots. officially brought to China. iRobot believes that China will become the largest market for sweeping robots within five years. This move marks the beginning of iRobot’s full-scale attack on China.

To put it simply, it has a history of 27 years. It started with military robots in space, search and rescue, and minesweeping. It has been involved in household cleaning robots since 2002, and officially confirmed last year to focus its core business on household robots. To date, iRobot has sold 18 million home robots.

The flagship Roomba 9 series sweeping robot brought into China for the first time includes four models: 980, 960, 961, and 964. Among them, the 980 was launched in 2015. It joined iRobot’s VSLAM (Vision Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology. While cleaning the room, you can draw a map of the room to know which areas need to be cleaned and which areas cannot be reached, and the speed can be greatly accelerated when cleaning the next time; the 960 was launched last year as a “low-cost version” of the 980.

iRobot has high hopes for the performance of the 9 series in China. At present, they have been fully sold on Tmall, and offline channels, while the price of 960 and 961 are both 4999 yuan, compared with the current US Amazon US$699 (about 4800 yuan). Yuan) price, this price is quite sincere.

At the same time, iRobot also brought all low-end and mid-end products to China, including Roomba 8 series models 890, 891, 894, priced from 3799 yuan; Roomba 6 series products 690, 691, 694 three models, The price starts from 2799 yuan. The price of Roomba 6 series is close to the high-end products of Ecovacs robot vacuum cleaners, but it is still higher than the 1699 yuan Xiaomi robot vacuum cleaner and the lowest price of 899 yuan Ecovacs robot.

In the United States, Japan, Europe and other regions, iRobot’s sweeping robots occupy a monopoly market share, but in China, according to relevant data, iRobot sales occupy the second place, but the market share is only about 16%, and there are larger Room for improvement.

After the press conference, iRobot COO, Christian Cerda was interviewed by the media including Lei Feng. When asked if the cleaning strength of the circular robot vacuum is not suitable for China, his answer shows his familiarity with China, “The characteristics of Chinese furniture are mainly tiles and wood, which are relatively hard. I think the power of our side brushes It’s totally sufficient…instead the western countries have to consider the characteristics of household products, for example in the UK some households use very thick blankets.”

Attention Xiaomi and Ecovacs, iRobot’s full-scale attack on China’s sweeping robot market starts now

(From left, iRobot CEO, Colin Angle; iRobot COO, Christian Cerda; iRobot China General Manager, Kelly Zhang)

In fact, iRobot continues to strengthen its investment in the Chinese market. Last year, iRobot officially established a Chinese company in Shanghai and appointed Kelly Zhang, who has 20 years of experience in consumer goods management, as the general manager of China. Kelly Zhang told reporters that the iRobot Shanghai office has dedicated product managers and consumer research managers, and has very close liaison with the US development department and the US engineering department to ensure that research and understanding of new products can be quickly fed back to the headquarters. Guangzhou, as the base for iRobot’s manufacturing and engineering operations, has also set up an engineer department and a research and development department. Therefore, it is not impossible for the iRobot sweeping robot that is fully positioned in the Chinese market to appear in the future.

iRobot’s attention to China stems from the huge potential of the Chinese market. Christian Cerda said that in 2015, a third-party research company did an analysis for iRobot, and it is expected that within five years, China will become the largest market for sweeping robots, surpassing the United States. And Japan, the capacity is about 1.1-1.7 billion US dollars.

Of course, iRobot is also well aware of its biggest disadvantage in the Chinese market – price, which Christian Cerda attributes to the quality and high-tech of iRobot. This is a plausible reason, but if it wants to do more in the Chinese market, iRobot should work hard to overcome its weaknesses. Judging from past experience, in the technology industry, it is often difficult for foreign companies to defeat strong local Chinese rivals, but understanding China is the first step to achieve specialization. iRobot has taken the first step, which should also be noticed by Ecovacs, Xiaomi, and Haier.

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