2008 Carpet-Cleaning Chemical Market Study

February 13, 2008
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Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist magazine’s sixth commissioned market study designed to measure the opinions and preferences of floor care and restoration professionals as they pertain to the use of carpet-cleaning chemicals and equipment. The size and scope of the study dictates that only certain responses can be represented here; see the box at the end of the feature for more information.

The study sample consisted of 2,929 active, qualified ICS magazine direct-request subscribers who have purchase authority for carpet cleaning chemicals and supplies and whose primary business is professional carpet cleaner or smoke/water-damage restoration specialist. The sample was pulled on an nth name basis. The study received an 18 percent response rate.

It is important to understand the makeup of the sample when analyzing any study. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents are individuals involved in the purchase of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Eighty-five percent responded that they are the owner and/or president of their company. Forty-eight percent of those responding claim annual expenditures of $5,000 or more on carpet-cleaning chemicals; 28 percent spend upwards of $10,000. The average annual revenue for responding companies is just over $395,000.

The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by respondents is hot-water extraction, both truck-mounted and portable, clocking in at 93 percent, the same as last year.

The body of the study concerns the habits that purchasers and users display when dealing with carpet-cleaning chemicals. Ninety percent of those responding use a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-conditioner, according to the study, while 71 percent use a steam-extraction detergent. Spot and stain removers are employed by 88 percent of respondents. Carpet and fabric protectors are used by 85 percent.

Quality tops the list of factors cited by respondents when it comes to selecting carpet-cleaning chemicals (see Chart I). Ninety-nine percent claim it is “important” or “very important,” while less than 1 percent dismiss it as “not important.” Prior experience with the product was ranked as important or very important by 95 percent, with cost being cited as very important by just 40 percent of respondents.

Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (Chart II). More than one-half of carpet cleaning specialists purchase carpet cleaning chemicals from one or two suppliers; almost four in five indicate the number of suppliers they purchase carpet cleaning chemicals from in the past year has remained the same.

The Internet continues to make inroads in the carpet-cleaning chemical purchasing cycle. Twenty-nine percent of respondents make carpet-cleaning chemical purchases online, up from 26 percent last year. The 24 percent who plan to use the Internet to make purchases in the future is a slight tick up from last year, but still just a bit more than half that of those surveyed two years ago.

Respondents changed how they purchase their chemicals from last year. Nineteen percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice this year (see Chart III), while 17 percent claimed the same in the previous year. It’s those claiming they purchase “as needed” that make up the bulk of respondents at 65 percent. The number who purchase “in small quantities when supply is gone” almost doubled to 11 percent. The percentage of those that “purchase when notified of a discounted price/sale” rose from 3 percent to 4 percent.

Survey respondents increased the amount of chemicals they choose to keep on hand. Thirty percent keep a month’s supply available, while 53 percent stock two to three months’ worth of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Four percent claim to have more than a six months’ supply squirreled away. To continue to strengthen and build on the relationships between chemical manufacturers and their clients, it is important for both sides to understand why, when and how companies make their carpet-cleaning chemical purchases.

The preceding is a snapshot of a comprehensive study examining the opinions, preferences and purchasing behavior of floor care professionals as they pertain to the use of carpet cleaning equipment and chemicals. The study was conducted by Clear Seas Research, a division of BNP Media.

This in-depth research study, including trending data, provides up-to-date information on various topics such as: brands of chemicals most frequently used; brands most likely to be recommended/used in the future and why; factors most important when selecting carpet cleaning chemicals; how environmentally conscious are today’s carpet cleaners; and much more!

The survey was mailed to 2,929 U.S. professional carpet cleaners and smoke/water damage restoration specialist who are also subscribers to ICS Cleaning Specialists. A total of 553 survey questionnaires were completed and returned for a response rate of 18%. The full and complete report is available from Clear Seas Research. For information about ordering or to find out more about Clear Seas Research services contact Sarah Turner at turners@clearseasresearch.com.

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