iRobot's Roomba: Bringing Robots into Homes

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG206
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1990-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Available Organization : iRobot Corporation
Industry : Robotics, Consumer Appliances
Countries : USA, Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Competition for the Roomba

The Roomba's main competition came from vacuum cleaners costing US$ 50 and above. Although there were also other robotic floor cleaners which resembled the Roomba, most analysts did not consider them as a serious challenge, mainly because of their high prices.

These products were priced at over US$ 1,000, while the price range for the Roomba extended from US$ 199 to US$ 500. In 2003, several companies came out with robotic vacuum cleaners...

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However, the Roomba did have some drawbacks. Some people pointed out that even though it was effective in cleaning rooms, it took much more time than an average person. Also, setting up the Roomba took time, and included activities like scheduling, setting up virtual walls, and clearing up other clutter...


Analysts believed that although the consumer robotics space was growing, it needed more competition to take off. They felt that the growth was low due to the capital, time, and labor-intensive nature of the industry...


Exhibit I: Picture of a Packbot
Exhibit II: Details of iRobot's Products
Exhibit III: Picture of First Generation of Roombas
Exhibit IV: The Three Generations of Roombas
Exhibit V: Picture of Scooba
Exhibit VI: Picture of Roomba Dirt Dog
Exhibit VII: Financials of iRobot
Exhibit VIII: Trends in Share Prices (2005-2009)

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