China tariffs are taking a toll on robot vacuums

We already knew the intensifying trade war between the U.S. and China was set to have an impact on consumer electronics like Fitbit trackers and the Apple Watch. It seems that tariffs are also starting to take their toll on the world of robotic vacuums — namely iRobot.

As CNBC notes, the company’s shares took a hit today, in spite of positive earnings. That comes as iRobot noted that it’s working to address rising costs in the face of Trump administration-imposed tariffs.

The company says it’s thus far avoiding raising the price on products by simply absorbing the higher export fees. But that could well change in the future, as it continues to reassess how it will deal with such costs, going forward.

“A lot of those scenarios do assume some level of potentially passing some of the pricing on to the consumers, but we haven’t exactly settled on the final answer yet,” CEO Colin Angle said on a call following iRobot’s quarterly report. “Our expectations that we set in February would not assume that we carry the full burden of the tariff increases.”

Increasing the cost of Roomba could certainly impact sales, moving forward. The product has been a tremendous success for the company, becoming one of the world’s best selling vacuums. But iRobot is routinely knocked for pricing — its latest ‘bot, the i7+, runs $950, putting it at around the same cost as a high-end flagship smartphone. All the while, an influx of cheap competitors have undercut it on the low-end.

We’ve reached out to iRobot for comment.