Metropolis in 1927, The Space Odyssey in 1968, Star Wars in 1977... so many mythical films among many others in which robots were pure fiction.
Today, this fiction becomes reality. Every day, new innovations are born: robots to carry out open-heart operations, to welcome customers in stores, to assist our seniors on a daily basis or to go to Mars... Robotics and its applications are everywhere: in our interiors, industry, medicine, agriculture...
What's more, with a market estimated to reach $135 billion in sales by 2019, it has become in just a few years a sector of the future at the heart of French industrial policy.
A French Paradox Illustrated by Domestic Robotics
A On closer inspection, the reality is much more contrasted. At a time when robotic transformation seems to be on the move and when the excellence of our country's technologies is being showcased, the French market is lagging behind, especially in the industrial sector where we have few manufacturers and a low rate of equipment, unlike Germany or Italy in Europe.
But the French are also absent subscribers on the household appliances market, which seems to be the most accessible.
The example of robot vacuum cleaners is blatant. Sales of robotic vacuum cleaners are exploding worldwide and amount to approximately $1.3 billion, or a weight of 20% of the vacuuming world. In Europe the market is in constant dynamic growth. If we take the case of Spain, sales of robot vacuum cleaners represent more than 1/3 of global vacuum cleaner sales (in value), ahead of traditional vacuuming. Germany is also a territory where robotic vacuum cleaners are growing strongly month after month.
Market shares of the robot category falling to 9% in France! Even though the French are the biggest purchasers of vacuum cleaners in the whole EMEA zone (5 million vacuum cleaners bought per year) and 43% of vacuum cleaner users declare they want to buy a robot vacuum cleaner.
Structural and cultural obstacles
How can we explain such a delay when the innovations and consumer expectations are there? Contrary to popular belief, price is not the first brake on the act of buying. The French market suffers above all from a lack of evangelisation and a lack of clarity in the offer.
Whereas in Germany and Spain, consumers can choose between three brands and around ten products, in France, more than 16 brands and 130 products are presented by distributors. This strategy of atomization confuses the consumer, makes it difficult to train salespeople in stores and ultimately discourages potential buyers.
At the same time, the energy law that requires the display of vacuum cleaner power levels misleads consumers. The power of a robot is calculated differently from a traditional vacuum cleaner (number of passes, weekly frequency of use, reinforced floor coverage, etc.). The intelligence contained in a robot allows a vacuum cleaner to be just as efficient or even superior to a traditional vacuum cleaner, which requires much more power.
The role of distribution and market players is therefore essential to contribute to the evangelization and simplification of supply and thus facilitate consumer choice.
Wake up France!
The potential of the French market is enormous. Out of the 28 million households, 7 million are already in France. addressable in the short term. So we need to transform the test and lift these brakes to catch up our delay if we want to embrace this Robolution, dear to Bruno Bonnell! And that means the involvement of all stakeholders in order to improve the dissemination of technology and thus propose to the more people a satisfying solution to free themselves from unrewarding household chores!