Mike Yamashita, product manager, vacuum cleaners at Panasonic: “Consumers’ impression is that the more filtration, the more clean air. But we need to educate people more about the advantages of filtration.”
Dave Gault, vice president of marketing, Hoover: “Research shows most consumers, even the discriminating ones, do not really understand how and to what degree filtration exists. Basically, they know they do not want a product that leaks or emits a lot of dust particles back into their room air.”
Bob Loeffler, marketing manager, Miele Appliances: “The idea that a vac has the potential to put some dirt back into the air unless it has good filtration is not something that comes natural to consumers. That will come with education.”
Linda Watson, vice president of marketing, Fantom Technologies: “Consumers are interested enough about the quality of air to question filtration systems and how effective they are in keeping the indoor air clean. However, most are not sophisticated enough to truly understand and differentiate one system from another.”
Debra Block Labruna, product marketing manager, Sharp: “I know the industry refers to microns down to 0.3 and 0.5 and I don’t think consumers know what it is, but they do know their air will be cleaner with this type of system. As manufacturers and an industry we need to educate consumers more about what filtration means to them.
Vacuums are riding a trend with air cleaners on the rise and people not wanting smoke or dog and cat odors in the home. They also hear of indoor air quality more.”
John Hoppe, vice president of marketing, The Eureka Co.: “I think consumers understand the more filtration the better and they’re coming to know HEPA is better than a regular filter. HEPA has been used rather extensively in air cleaners and has been advertised heavily on television.”
Rick Farone, director of marketing & product development, Royal Appliance: “The term HEPA may be recognized by some portion of the consumer public but it is understood by far fewer. As long as the industry continues to try to explain HEPA filtration using “micron” terminology and 100ths-of-a-percent mathematics, a vast number of consumers will just tune out.”
George Levenson, national sales manager, Sanyo Floor Care Products: “Consumers understand clean air but they don’t automatically understand good filtration unless it is fully explained in the retail arena.”
HFN: Will all the players in the vacuum cleaner industry have to have the filtration feature in their line to compete in the years to come?
Victor Yakin, branch manager, Thorne Electric Koblenz: “High filtration or micro-filtration will be a must in the high-end machines.”
Dave Kagan, director of communications, Bissell: “[And] as consumers become more educated to the benefits of micro-filtration, demand for this feature will increase. Naturally, manufacturers will respond to this consumer demand as well as to competitive pressures.”
Farone: “Probably HEPA filtration will be standard at the high-and perhaps mid-range before long.”
Bruce Gold, president, White Westinghouse: “I would certainly think by 1998 it will be available as an option in everyone’s line.”
Bill Wilcoxon, sales manager, Douglass Quikut: “I believe filtration is a feature that some consumers will search out to purchase but I don’t believe that it will be a mandatory feature.”
Gault: “Truly superb filtration carries a cost which is not universally accepted by the public. As such, it will not become as widespread as, for instance, on-board tools.”