The great vacuum cleaner stampede: Panic buying hits shops as deadline looms for Brussels ban on high-powered machines
- Shoppers are panic-buying powerful vacuum cleaners to beat European Union ban that comes into force next week
- Last night, retailers reported that sales had soared by nearly 50 per cent, with many running out of powerful models
- Brussels diktat will prohibit companies from manufacturing or importing vacuum cleaners that are above 1,600 watts
- EU is now considering measures to ban most powerful hairdryers, lawn mowers and electric kettles, it was revealed
Shoppers are panic-buying powerful vacuum cleaners to beat an EU ban that comes into force next week.
Last night retailers reported that sales had soared by nearly 50 per cent as consumers snap up any remaining stock in the run-up to the Brussels diktat outlawing machines of over 1,600 watts.
Many stores and websites have already run out of the most powerful models, with one reporting its busiest day for sales in more than a decade.
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Stampede: Shoppers are panic-buying powerful vacuum cleaners to beat an EU ban coming into force next week. Above, some of models that will be affected by the ban
The buying frenzy looks set to intensify today and tomorrow, before the official ban on importing or manufacturing the machines takes effect on Monday.
And Brussels is now considering measures to ban the most powerful hairdryers, lawn mowers and electric kettles, it was revealed.
A list of up to 30 high-wattage household devices could be banned next spring following a draft EU report which examined ways to reduce power consumption.
Consumer magazine Which? said the new rules on vacuum cleaners would outlaw some of the best machines, which owe their strong suction ability to their high power consumption.
A previous story on the Brussels ban, as reported in the Mail on August 23, 2014
From September 1, companies will be prohibited from manufacturing or importing any vacuum cleaners above the 1,600-watt limit as part of a drive to reduce domestic electricity use.
Tesco yesterday said it saw sales rocket by 44 per cent over the past two weeks as panicked customers rushed to get their hands on popular 2,000-watt models.
The Cooperative Electrical shop reported a rise of 38 per cent, while at Currys some models of powerful vacuums were sold out.
Online electrical retailer ao.com said sales were up 40 per cent last week compared with the same period last year and last Friday it had its best ever day for vacuum cleaner sales in the 14 years it has been trading.
Tesco planning manager Louise Rix said: ‘The EU ban has been a much debated topic over the last few days – it’s certainly provoked a lot of interest amongst consumers and manufacturers.
‘We’ve seen huge sales increases of vacuums and we expect the high demand to continue over the next two days before the ban comes into place.’
The ban from Monday on powerful vacuum cleaners has angered manufacturers, who say it will do nothing to make machines more environmentally friendly and will simply reduce efficiency in the home.
Critics say cleaners satisfying the new rule may use less power but householders will have to use them for longer – so they are likely to use the same amount of electricity in the long run.
For the first time, vacuum cleaners will have to carry ratings from A to G for energy use, cleaning performance on carpets and hard floors, and dust emissions.
Measures: The buying frenzy looks set to intensify today and tomorrow, before the official ban on importing or manufacturing powerful vacuum cleaners (left) takes effect on Monday. And Brussels is now considering measures to ban the most powerful hairdryers, lawn mowers (right, file picture) and electric kettles, it was revealed
Yesterday, there was evidence that consumers are stockpiling their favourite models to use in the decades to come.
Chris Wesson, posted a photograph on Twitter of two 2,000-watt Panasonic vacuums which he said his mother had bought.
He tweeted the comment: ‘Only my mum would stock up on powerful vacuum cleaners before this ban comes into effect. We now have five in our house...’
But Leanne Beswick, of ao.com, said there was no need to panic buy – and that lower wattage does not necessarily equate to a poorer performing machine.
‘We have seen a significant surge in sales of corded vacuums over 1600 watts over the weekend as the deadline for meeting new EU legislation looms on September 1,’ she said. ‘However, consumers need not panic buy.
Consumers are snapping up any remaining stock in the run-up to the diktat outlawing machines of over 1,600 watts. Above, the European Commission's headquarters
‘Even though these particular models will eventually be off the market, this doesn’t mean that new and other existing models are any less effective – they are not. Although they may need to lose power to conform to the new regulations, they won’t lose performance.’
A Currys & PC World spokesperson said: 'We still have a good stocks of high powered vacuum cleaners at great prices. We will however be adding new products to our range with the best technology that adhere to the new energy and performance ruling.
'These new ranges are built with state of the art engineering with the same high standards to ensure customers reap the benefits without compromising quality.'
While the ban comes into place on Monday, retailers will still be able to sell their remaining stock after this date.
Last week consumer watchdog Which? warned that many of the best models that appear in its Best Buy tables will be taken off the market as a result of the new EU rule.
Of seven awarded ‘Best Buy’ status since January 2013, five have motors with a power of more than 1,600 watts, it said.
The maximum wattage will be lowered further to 900 watts by 2017. Current cleaners have an average wattage of 1,800.
Which? said: ‘If you’re in the market for a powerful vacuum, you should act quickly, before all of the models currently available sell out. A best buy 2,200-watt vac costs around £27 a year to run in electricity – only £8 more than the best-scoring 1,600-watt we’ve tested.’
Marlene Holzner, the European Commission’s energy spokesman, said the amount of wattage does not automatically indicate how well a vacuum will perform.
She added what counted was how efficiently a vacuum translated its electrical power into picking up dust, and this would be measured under the new rules.
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