Dyson Vacuum Cleaners: Better By Design Or Better By Marketing?

By: Marty White

Since the US launch of Dyson vacuum cleaners in 2003, they have taken the US market by storm. In fact, Dyson has been so successful - not just in the US, but throughout the world - that Hoover, once the powerhouse of the vacuum cleaner industry, has rapidly lost market share. In fact, Hoover has experienced such a decline in profitability that it has been put up for sale by its parent company.

But how has Dyson achieved this success? Is it due to superior design and functionality or is it the result of a slick marketing campaign? The real question is this: how sustainable is Dyson's success? Marketing hype is OK in the short term, but can cost you down the line if customers do not become repeat buyers because they feel cheated by the initial sales pitch. On the other hand, if the Dyson range really does deliver, then customer loyalty will no doubt ensure long-term success.

After much hard work and thousands of prototypes, James Dyson unveiled his first vacuum cleaner - the G force - back in 1991. He'd tried to take the Dyson concept to all of the major players in the industry, but was politely shown the door at every turn. With a lack of funding to turn his dream into reality, he was facing bankruptcy. However, he caught a break by winning a Japanese design award and soon the G-Force was selling for $2,000 a pop there. This gave him the cash flow he needed to set up on his own and the popular DC01 model was launched in the UK in 1993. It was an instant smash hit and it took on the mantle of being the best selling vacuum cleaner in the UK within 2 years.

Engineering and good design definitely played a hugely important role in the success of the Dyson. The Cyclone technology is at the heart of the Dyson concept, the claim being that there are no bags or filters to clog up and so there is no gradual loss of suction, as is experienced with traditional vacuum cleaners. Usability is also key and the Dyson is brimming with ergonomic features. The DC05, for example, is designed to balance solidly on your stairs. The latest Dyson, the DC15, is the subject of 182 patents and 3 years of R

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