ICS Magazine

2009 Carpet-Cleaning Chemical Market Study

February 10, 2009


Welcome to ICS Cleaning Specialist’s seventh 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 “ICS Market Study” box at the end of the feature for more information.

The study sample consisted of 5,435 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 sample was pulled on an nth name basis. The study was conducted online and received a 6 percent response rate; 348 professionals took part in the survey.

Chart I

It is important to understand the makeup of the sample when analyzing any study. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents are individuals involved in the purchase of carpet-cleaning chemicals. Ninety percent responded that they are the owner and/or president of their company. Forty-seven percent of those responding claim annual expenditures of $5,000 or more on carpet-cleaning chemicals, but just 23 percent spent upwards of $10,000 vs. 28 percent last year. The average annual revenue for responding companies is just over $328,000.

The primary method used for cleaning carpet cited by 85 percent of respondents is hot-water extraction, both truck-mounted and portable. That number has come down steeply; last year 93 percent claimed HWE as their method of choice. Bonnet/pad respondents doubled, from 4 percent last year to 8 percent this year.

The body of the study concerns the habits that 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 63 percent use a steam-extraction detergent. Spot and stain removers are employed by 91 percent of respondents. Carpet and fabric protectors are used by 89 percent.

Quality/Reliability 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.” Past experience and product availability were both ranked as important or very important by 95 percent, with price being cited as very important by 44 percent of respondents.

Chart II

Where companies make purchases can be just as important as why (Chart II). Sixty-six percent of carpet cleaning specialists purchase carpet cleaning chemicals from local distributors or suppliers; more than half purchase from three or more. Seven-in-ten respondents 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. A whopping 41 percent of respondents make carpet-cleaning chemical purchases online, up from 29 percent last year. This may be a result of a shift in the purchase behavior or it may be attributed to a larger percentage of online users responding to this year’s online survey compared to the 2007 survey. The 30 percent who plan to use the Internet to make purchases in the future is up from last year’s 24 percent; in 2005, 45 percent planned to make purchases online.

Respondents changed how they purchase their chemicals from last year. Eighteen percent cited scheduled purchasing as their method of choice this year (see Chart III). Those claiming they purchase carpet cleaning chemicals “as needed” fell from 65 percent in 2007 down to 54 percent this year. The number who purchase “in small quantities when supply is gone” more than doubled to 23 percent. The percentage of those that “purchase when notified of a discounted price/sale” remained the same.

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.

Chart III

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.

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 administered online and emailed to 5,435 U.S. professional carpet cleaners and smoke/water damage restoration specialists who are also subscribers to ICS Cleaning Specialists. A total of 348 surveys were completed for a response rate of 6%. 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.