Dyson hoovers up £1bn in revenue

James Dyson's eponymous vacuum cleaner maker has hit a £1bn turnover for the first time. Now, China beckons for the investor-turned-entrepreneur.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
It’s been one hell of a year for James Dyson. While the global recession has slowed sales for many manufacturing giants, Dyson’s bagless cyclone has been speeding up. Growth in the US and Japan, fuelled mostly by the launch of a new cordless vacuum cleaner and its range of 'no fan' fans, has helped Dyson to a dust-busting turnover of £1.06bn for 2011 up from £887m last year. The firm’s EBITDA has also jumped 30% to £306.3m.

Now, Dyson is looking to crack a new mega-market: China. Proof of the appetite for its product range across the People’s Republic lies in the vast quantities of counterfeit Dysons being sold across the country: ‘Some of these streets have more knock-offs than we would like,’ admits group chief executive Max Conze. As of November this year, however, Chinese households will be able to get hold of the real thing.

And China is just one phase in Dyson’s growth plan; Conze has his sights set on world domination. ‘We are very young,’ he says. ‘We’re 19, which makes us barely adolescent. European markets still offer growth potential. Our story is one of developing growth.’

Despite Conze’s assertions of ‘youth’, Dyson has got a real foothold in some mature markets. The Dyson is now the top selling upright vacuum cleaner brand in the US, with a near 27% market share. And interestingly, given the turmoil in the eurozone economies, Dyson even saw real revenue growth in Spain over the past year.

The group has been very careful to spread risk across a number of markets and products. Last year it sold 85% of its machines outside the UK, compared with 30% in 2005. And the firm’s R&D spend is being increased by 20% to £59m over the next five years to ensure a steady stream of new innovations. Rival vacuum manufacturers will have trouble getting a look in. The message from Dyson is clear: suck my dust…

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