The most striking change in sales of mops and brooms took place in the drug sector, where dollar sales over the past 12 months ending in mid-June plunged 17% to $93.2 million and unit sales fell 11.3%. This contributed to most of the overall decline in the market in the past year as consumers continue to hold onto their old cleaning tools or buy cheaper products during hard economic times.
Supermarkets account for a much larger percentage of mop and broom sales at $469.6 million — a figure that has held relatively flat since 2008. Backed by frequent traffic, supermarkets are well positioned to capture whatever investments consumers are willing to make in cleaning tools. Indeed, food retailers have replaced mass merchandisers as the leader of this category, which mass merchants led at the beginning of the 2000s.
On the manufacturing side, the recession has spurred an influx of less expensive, lower-quality mops and brooms, according to a report in Sanitary Maintenance magazine. Some U.S. manufacturers are buying imported parts but labeling the assembled product “made in the USA,” the report said.