June 26, 2020

Pandemic-era Roomba sales prove it: Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum

Toilet paper. Flour. Roomba? The corona-conomy gets weird.

Personal robots are on fire. Can I get a HAL yeah?

Roomba — your mom’s cute little disk-shaped vacuum — has gone from joker to king since the pandemic, according to Marker. At least as far as sales are concerned.

Aye, robot!

The small-and-not-quite-mighty Roomba has been around since 2002. For years the little round cleaning machines have been dooting around people’s houses, sucking up dirt and terrorizing pets.

But since we started hunkering down at home and realizing our abodes have a lot in common with commodes, many of us are ready to rage with the machine.

No sitting around collecting dust here

A trade war with China and corona-related supply chain disruptions should have Hoovered up some of the profits — some analysts predicted losses of 30%. But iRobot, Roomba’s parent company, anticipates impressive quarterly revenue of $260m. Last year iRobot had $1.2B in sales.

Although cheaper models will run you ~$300, iRobot has reported significant sales of its deluxe s9 series, which will set you back $1k/unit.

Regardless of how much you spend, Roomba will never come close to replicating the full-service experience of the Jetsons’ best gal Rosie.

But with many families straining to balance work, childcare, and homeschooling, outsourcing at least one task to Roomba is pretty damn appealing.

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