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Vacuum Sales Grow 2.1 Percent In 2003

Sales of full-size household vacuum cleaners increased 2.1 percent last year to 19.7 million units according to the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Assn. (VCMA).

Despite the slim annual gains, the category managed to buck the fourth quarter’s lackluster selling environment by rising 4.8 percent to 4.9 million units over same three-month period in 2001.

In other VCMA news, the trade group issued a statement in response to the creation in January of a rival Floor Care Division by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

“The announcement came as a complete surprise to many of the VCMA members, who had previously rejected the proposal from this organization to manage them,” the group said. The statement further warned that the move by AHAM “runs the risk of dividing the industry and creating confusion in the marketplace.”

VCMA said it spent two years evaluating a possible affiliation with AHAM, but that members ultimately voted to retain new management — Cleveland-based Thomas Associates — and remain a stand-alone, single-industry organization due to cost concerns and AHAM’s broad product scope.

AHAM president Joseph McGuire noted that several current AHAM members that produce floor care products in addition to major or portable appliances initiated the new Floor Care Division. “By adding floor care appliances to AHAM’s scope, we will more fully represent the home appliance industry,” he said.