We have sold 5,000 units in last three months and are currently out of stock, says a prominent manufacturer of robotic vacuums retailing in India. Jittery about maids entering homes and, in a bid to become self-reliant, educated elites in metros are increasingly opting for automated cleaners. It's machines over man (maid in this case, if you will) as people try to minimise human interface.
Akhilee Malhotra, a 45-year-old resident of a premium gated community who recently bought an iRobot for her 4BHK apartment, says, “We are at the edge of the desert in Gurugram, what with Rajasthan being next-door. Plus, we have pets. As a labour-saving device, the robot is a good investment for keeping the dog dander and dust down.”
Malhotra loves the way the “little monster” wades its way through the house, gobbling up everything from dust bunnies, fur balls and even the bread crumbs from last night’s dinner.
Her husband Ajay says he had mixed feelings about using the robots the first time he programmed their “work” schedules. Says he: “Robotics have changed my house cleaning and need I say robot technology may soon be appearing in the average home for cleaning, cooking and doing all the chores. Makes me think of the sheriff's "smart house" in the TV series Eureka where it cleans, cooks, makes beds, organises the owner's schedule, and notifies people he has appointments with."
Premium purchases such as vacuum cleaners and dishwashers, which are “intent driven” categories related to cleanliness and hygiene and help promoting DIY culture, will sustain even beyond the pandemic, as per recent studies. Says Vishnu Vardhan, consultant, Euromonitor International: “Consumers will look for ways to simplify their lives at home. They are reprioritising their purchases and would rather buy fewer but high-quality tech devices that help one in becoming self-sufficient and getting rid of domestic help.”
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