Shark takes pole position in total vacuum category and drives digital expertise

Shark has become the UK’s number one brand in the total vacuum category by volume and claims the Covid-19 pandemic has made the business more creative in terms of its digital expertise and capability.

Shark now holds pole position in both upright vacuums and the cleaning category overall. According to Jess Levy, SharkNinja vice president marketing EU, the company continues to invest in updating classic products such as its Lift Away Upright with new technologies and design features, as well as core NPD.

“We don’t just launch a product and say “that’s it” and move onto the next. We continue to look back at ranges and improve them so that every consumer is benefiting from new technology at every price point,” she said. 

The company’s cordless range, for example, has recently benefited from the addition of anti-hair wrap technology. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal – consumers relate to the problem of hair wrapping around the brush rolls,” Levy said.

The cordless products, as with others in the range, continue to win 5* reviews, she added; and suggested people had changed the way in which they replaced their products and now actively looked to switch models for new features and benefits.

Levy said the company was planning more new products across both the Shark and Ninja brands and the business was busy putting final touches on messaging and stories.

Robotics, mooted for launch earlier this year, are still on the cards, and likely to play a role in consumers’ wider cleaning portfolios, said Levy.

“As the focus tends to health and cleanliness, people are not just investing more on vacuums but in having multiple cleaning appliances in anyone home ie a cordless upstairs and an upright downstairs,” she said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has driven an uplift in online sales but the business has a solid infrastructure and culture and had been able to adapt quickly, as well as “think outside of the box”, Levy added.

“We’ve been doing what we always do in many respects,” she said. “That means putting the consumer at the heart of everything. We also have a very agile e-commerce and logistics team so can cater for an increase in demand in the way we deliver and for consumers placing orders,” she said.

In terms of retailer support, digital video has become increasingly important during the crisis with content for online sites essential in assisting the customer journey.

Levy said SharkNinja has benefited from its own in-house production team in this respect. “We have been able to create content quickly and supply online videos to retailers and change content and promotions to ensure our customers have everything they need to make a purchase,” she said. “Content is more important than ever but how we make it has been more challenging in different circumstances. It has made a lot more creative and think differently. If consumers can’t go into store they want to be able to scrutinise products online and content is key,” she said. 

The in-house facility provided a massive advantage in being able to swap creatives quickly and problem solve – dealing with complex stock availability as much as consumers’ needs, Levy added.

In kitchen appliances, the Ninja brand has performed well during lockdown and is the number one brand in multi-cookers by value. Demand for products such as the air/health grill and Nutri Ninja has also been “absolutely huge”, as consumers have turned to healthy eating, Levy said.

The Ninja range will be expanded from September. “It’s a really exciting time for the brand,” she said.

According to Levy, lockdown has changed how consumers cook. While some people have more time to cook, others are challenged with working from home and home schooling, she said. Additionally, they can’t go to restaurants, are nervous about takeaways and may be bored of what they cook.

In response, the company has launched the cookingcircle.com platform for recipes and is using digital video to inspire customers with cooking ideas using Ninja products. The brand is also inviting people who cook with Ninja appliances to send in their content too. 

The company continues to invest in advertising, as consumers spend more time online and watching TV. “We’ve maintained our ad spend on TV and adapted it to make sure it’s relevant,” Levy said. The ability to constantly refresh content and “think outside the box” is also key, she added. 

A planned grill-along with Nadia Sawhala, for example, is being built out on online. “We have challenged ourselves and are doing things that were impossible six months ago,” Levy said.