With the introduction of its new Legacy II attached-tool upright line, Hoover clearly is targeting a void in the market left by declining canister vacuum sales.
The new line, which made its debut at a press conference here, is the second generation of the successful Legacy attached-tool upright line. Introduced in 1990, Legacy was Hoover’s first major entry into the attached tool upright category.
“The canister market was originally about 3 million units a year, but last year it was down to about 2.25 million units annually,” said Brian Girdlestone, president of Hoover North America. “Our studies show that the canister market could slip to anywhere between .75 [million] and 1.5 million units a year.”
While he said the canister market is in decline, Girdlestone also said there would always be a canister customer. That will cause the canister market to hit a stable, although lower, plateau in the future.
Girdlestone attributed the drop in canisters to the rising popularity of attached tool uprights–units that offer the carpet-cleaning power of an upright and the cleaning versatility of a canister. At the end of last year, attached tool uprights accounted for more than 40 percent of all uprights sold. By the end of 1992, attached tool uprights could account for more than 70 percent of the upright market, according to both Hoover and industry sources.
Girdlestone said Hoover has been able to gain market share in an aggressive floor care market through product introductions. Legacy II will help the company increase its already healthy market share in 1992, said Girdlestone.
As he made the introductions, Girdlestone also said Hoover is working on new floor care product categories and will make subsequent introductions in the months ahead.
Legacy II is a mid-priced, five-SKU line with improved convenience features. Suggested retail prices in the line range from $259 to $299.
While the line is available to all channels of distribution, its pricing would make it especially attractive to catalog-showrooms, warehouse clubs and appliance stores. However, the pricing is also low enough so the units can be promoted in mass channels.
All of the new models feature attached tools and a flexible triple-stretch hose that can reach as high as 11 feet off the floor. Of the five models in the line, two are hard-bag designs while three have soft bags.
Like the previous Legacy line, tools are stored in a side-mounted caddy. Two extension wands are stored on the back of the unit. In the new Legacy II line, there is a place in the caddy for an extra belt. The two hard-bag models feature an easy-to-open transparent plastic door on the tool caddy.
The power switch has been moved from its position on the side of the unit on Legacy to the front of the handle at the base of the handle grip on Legacy II. The new models also feature a muffler on the back of the cleaner for quieter operation.
Other features on the line include; a stair-cleaning handle for ease of carrying or vacuuming stair trends; four-position carpet-height adjustment; a two-brush agitator; a headlight; quick-release cord wrap; and brushed edge cleaning on both sides for vacuuming close to the baseboard.
The two hard-bag models have Hoover’s new “Breathe Easy” micro filtration inside paper bag. The bag has an electrostically charged inner liner that is said to provide 99.9 percent filtration down 5 microns. Hard-bag models also offer an easy-open front panel for quick access to the inner paper bag.
Legacy II is available in new designer colors. The hard-bag models are available in forest green and deep teal. Soft bags are available in crimson, ultra-deep blue and black.