The 2013 ICS Market Trends Study

We targeted 5,780 active, qualified ICS Cleaning Specialist subscribers in order to gauge current and future usage and purchasing trends of carpet cleaning and restoration chemicals and more

August 6, 2013

Are you curious about today’s equipment and services trends in the cleaning and restoration industry? You’ve come to the right place. We targeted 5,780 active, qualified ICS Cleaning Specialist subscribers in order to gauge current and future usage and purchasing trends of carpet cleaning and restoration chemicals, anticipated purchasing behavior, sourcing of products and online purchasing and how important certain product attributes are in the purchasing process.

The majority of the study respondents (63%) are members of carpet cleaning contracting firms, while 21% are employed by restoration contracting firms and 12% with building service contracting or janitorial firms. About 82% percent of the respondents use carpet cleaning chemicals and/or cleaning tools/accessories in their work, while three-fourths use deodorization chemicals, 73% truckmounts and 66% portable carpet cleaning equipment. Lastly, 83% of the survey respondents have the ability to approve and/or authorize purchases.

To kick the study off, one of the questions we posed to our target audience is how they foresee business conditions in the future. The majority of the respondents indicated a favorable future. Seventy-two percent expect growth in 2013, with 36% predicting more than 10% growth, and an overwhelming 80% of respondents indicated growth in 2014, with 46% predicting more than 10% growth.

Carpet Cleaning Chemical Trends

There are a lot of chemicals that are used for carpet cleaning purposes. For a look at the percentages of respondents who use them currently and what they anticipate using in 2014, See Chart I. As you can see from the chart, about nine out of 10 respondents use spot/stain removers and expect to continue to use them in 2014. Furthermore, more than 80% of respondents use the following products and expect to continue to do so:

  • Traffic lane cleaner/pre-conditioner
  • Deodorization
  • Carpet/fabric protectors
  • Upholstery cleaners

Furthermore, about two-fifths of survey respondents indicated that they expect to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on carpet cleaning chemicals. Fifty-three percent of all respondents indicated that they expect to spend more in the next 18 months on chemicals.

Restoration Chemical Trends

Respondents indicated that they intend to use the likes of stainless steel cleaners, preventative coatings/sealers and mold stain removers more in the next year compared to this year. Here’s a look at some of the current and future chemical uses in the restoration industry (See Chart II for complete details):

  • Disinfectants: Today, 94%; 2014: 94%
  • Antimicrobials: Today, 86%; 2014, 88%
  • Fungicides: Today, 60%; 2014, 64%
  • Mold remediation chemicals: Today, 60%; 2014, 62%
  • Mold stain removers: Today, 54%; 2014, 62%
  • Smoke/soot removers: Today, 54%; 2014, 58%
  • Preventative coatings/sealers: Today, 48%; 2014, 58%
  • Stainless steel cleaners: Today, 34%, 2014, 44%

Respondents indicate that the average spending on the aforementioned products is projected to clock in at about $6,300, and more than half of those who responded expect to increase their spending on such chemicals within the next 18 months.

Restoration Equipment Trends

There’s a lot that goes into a restoration job. Our respondents indicate that they all already own and use air movers and/or blowers and nearly all of the respondents (97%) possess extractors and truckmounts/portables. For a look at some of the other purchasing trends in the industry, both currently and in 2014, see Chart III. Unlike chemicals, this hard equipment lasts longer, which impacts the 2014 purchasing decisions in many cases.

In terms of purchasing trends, more than one-third of all respondents anticipate spending between $1,001 and $10,000 on tools and equipment. More than half of all respondents stated that they expect to increase their spending within the next 18 months.

Product Sourcing

So how exactly do cleaners and restorers go about acquiring the products and equipment to get the job done? Most of the respondents (60%) indicate that they work with a local distributor or supplier, while 23% work with a manufacturer direct, 6% a big box store and the remaining 11% do so via the Internet, franchises or out-of-city distributors.

In terms of product purchase criteria, most respondents indicate product quality/reliability as an important factor in their buying decisions (See Chart IV). This is followed by past experiences, product availability, customer service and price, among other factors. Additionally, about 40% of respondents do not purchase carpet cleaning supplies through the Internet, while an nearly equal proportion purchase about 25% or more of their products online.

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