2011 Carpet-Cleaning Chemical Market Study

February 2, 2011
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Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist’s ninth commissioned market study designed to gauge the opinions and preferences of floor care professionals with regard to carpet-cleaning chemicals and suppliers. The study looks to answer many of the questions concerning chemical use in the cleaning industry, including:
  • What types of carpet cleaning chemicals and cleaning methods are most popular today?
  • How environmentally conscious are today’s carpet cleaning and restoration specialists?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the carpet cleaning chemical market?
  • What factors are most important when selecting carpet cleaning chemicals?
The size and scope of the study dictates that only certain responses can be represented here; see the “ICS Market Study” box at the end of the feature for more information.

The target audience for the study consisted of 7,235 active, qualified ICS 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 study was conducted online; the sample was pulled on an Nth name basis from the domestic circulation.

Determining the makeup of the sample is critical when analyzing any study. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents are individuals involved in the purchase of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Seventy-nine percent responded that they are the owner and/or president of their company. Thirty-eight percent of those responding claim annual expenditures of $5,000 or more on carpet-cleaning chemicals, with 27 percent spending upwards of $10,000, compared to 31 percent last year. The average annual revenue for responding companies is just over $375,000, about $12,000 less than last year.

The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by 81 percent of respondents is hot-water extraction; 10 percent are running HWE portables, while 71 percent operate truck-mounted units. Bonnet/pad respondents stayed even at 8 percent.

Chart I

The meat of the study concerns the habits purchasers and users display when dealing with carpet-cleaning chemicals. Eighty-nine percent of those responding use a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-conditioner, according to the study, while 58 percent use a steam-extraction detergent. Spot and stain removers are employed by 90 percent of respondents. Carpet and fabric protectors are used by 88 percent.

Quality/Reliability tops the list of factors cited by respondents when it comes to selecting carpet-cleaning chemicals (Chart I). Ninety-eight percent claim it is “important” or “very important,” while less than 1 percent dismiss it as “not important.” Past experience and product availability were ranked as important or very important by 93 percent and 94 percent, respectively. Price was cited as very important by 39 percent of respondents.

Chart II

Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (Chart II). Sixty-four percent of carpet cleaning specialists purchase carpet cleaning chemicals from local distributors or suppliers; just under half purchase from three or more. Seventy-nine percent of respondents indicate the number of suppliers they purchased carpet cleaning chemicals from in the past year has remained the same.

The Internet continues to make an impact in the carpet-cleaning chemical purchasing cycle. More than two-fifths of respondents indicate they make purchases online. Of those not currently purchasing carpet cleaning chemicals online, one out of three plan to do so in the future, the same as last year.

Chart III

Respondents are getting more predictable in their purchasing habits. Twenty-four percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice this year, down from 25 percent last year (Chart III). Those claiming they purchase carpet cleaning chemicals “as needed” bumped up a point this year to 52 percent compared to 51 percent. The number who purchase “in small quantities when supply is gone” stayed constant at 17 percent. The percentage of those that “purchase when notified of a discounted price/sale” dipped from 6 percent to 5 percent.

To continue to strengthen and build on the relationships between chemical manufacturers and the end user, it is important for both sides to understand why, when and how companies make their carpet-cleaning chemical purchases.

ICS Market Study

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.

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 Jennifer Loomis at loomisj@clearseasresearch.com.

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