San Jose, California (Vocus) August 10,2010—The number of coin-operated laundries & drycleaners in the United States has been on the rise over the years making this niche a rapidly expanding category. Self-service coin laundries (Laundromats) came into existence in the 1950’s when coin meters were incorporated to washing machines. Increased demand for convenience, busier lifestyles, sizable reduction in quality free time, longer working hours, and rising single-person households and dual-income families, which characterize modern American population, have been traditionally driving growth in this market. This is primarily because of the willingness of such sophisticated consumer base to pay a premium for services offering better performance, convenience and timesaving features. Moreover, growth and dynamism in the tourism industry has also significantly contributed to growth of commercial laundry services in the United States.
After witnessing encouraging growth between 2005 and 2007, the coin laundries industry, took a major hit during 2008 & 2009. Given that the fortunes of coin operated laundries and dry cleaners market in the United States are closely tied to apartments and condominium occupancy rate, Laundromats, especially those serving specific ethnic composition such as Hispanics, have suffered greatly due to the exodus of customers to their home countries. Recession induced trends such as rising levels of unemployment, reducing disposable incomes, and reduction in household wealth are all expected to hurt the market in the immediate short term. In frugal economic conditions, most Americans have curtailed on their laundry bills, by utilizing home washers of relatives or friends. Factors such as rising energy costs, and pressure from environmental agencies are additionally straining growth.
Despite the erosion in revenues over the last two years, the US market for coin-operated laundries and drycleaners is expected to recover poise and gain steady momentum in the next few years. As economic conditions revive and rental occupancy rate improves, the market will gain traction and register considerable growth in its revenue. The market will also receive a boost from service innovations. Gradual advances in technology have spurred a number of product launches by key players in recent years claiming specific extra benefits, such as energy-saving, and water-conserving, and improved turnover times. Laundry equipment manufacturers are boosting R&D spending to better identify and leverage customer insights, and quickly transform those insights into innovative solutions that will drive both growth and profitability. A key trend in the coin operated laundry market is stronger push toward improving machines up time, and growing awareness among consumer over the carcinogenicity of PERC, hydrocarbons or other detergent solvents. Soft market conditions have also drawn increased attention towards the need for utilizing energy more efficiently and conserving energy by way of utilization of energy-efficient washers and dryers.