Speed Queen: a new contender in the laundromat market

In the last two years numerous laundromat stores opened in Vietnam’s big cities. Customers put their clothes in the washing machine and wait to get them on their own with the support from the stores’ staff.

US company to introduce Laundromat culture to Vietnam

These stores represent the next stage in the development of traditional laundry stores as consumers do not have to wait until the next day to pick up their clothes. The more professional the service is, the more appealing doing laundry at the store becomes. This has been popular all over the world for a long time now and Vietnamese people are gradually getting familiar with it.

The potential in laundry

People have ever less time to dedicate to domestic chores, so they like getting things done fast. Laundry stores enable busy individuals or families to save time spent on doing laundry. Moreover, many pieces of garments cannot be handled at home and require special treatment that only professional washers can provide.

The increasing demand has brought about more professional stores to compete with traditional counterparts. A new brand known as Speed Queen is expected to be launched at the beginning of August.

“Speed Queen” is known for its chain of stores owned by Alliance Laundry Systems from the US, which has more than 100 years of development in the field of laundry in the world. At the end of May, Alliance Laundry Systems has officially opened its first office in Ho Chi Minh City, marking a turning point in its strategy of penetrating the budding laundry market of Vietnam.

As a popular company in the laundry industry, Alliance Laundry Systems possesses five well-known brand names, including Speed Queen®, UniMac®, Huebsch®, IPSO®, and Primus®. The company’s commercial laundry equipment is being sold and utilised in more than 140 countries all over the world. In Vietnam, Alliance’s products are now widely used in four major sectors: vended laundries, on-premises commercial laundries, multi-housing laundry rooms, and home laundry.

“The Vietnamese market is far more dynamic than the one in Singapore, as Vietnam’s population is over 90 million, much larger than Singapore’s,” said a representative of Alliance Laundry Systems.

In addition to the population and significantly increasing GDP, Alliance finds Vietnam’s dynamic business environment another important factor.

“Vietnamese people have got high entrepreneurial spirit that is incomparable to any other country,” said Felipe Coddou, director of the retail and vended department for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions.

To Alliance Laundry Systems, Vietnam is a strategic market in Southeast Asia to promote the corporation’s long-term business plans.

Speed Queen: a new contender in the laundromat market
Felipe Coddou, director of the retail and vended department for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America region, praised Vietnamese people’s entrepreneurial spirit

Who will take over the market?

The entry of Speed Queen has enhanced the vibrancy of the Vietnamese laundry market, which is considered to hold great potential despite having no outstanding brand names.

One of the major competitive advantages of the laundry industry is the equipment. Foreign corporations have spent hundreds of years and millions of dollars on research labs to find the most cost-effective types of machinery and equipment in order to minimise costs and use less toxic chemicals.

Alliance Laundry Systems, for example, owns the EUR2.5 million ($2.9 million) centre of science, technology, and research (STAR) in the Czech Republic, constantly working on researching and innovating smart and modern laundry equipment.

According to Richard L. Pyle, president of Alliance Laundry Systems International, Speed Queen’s energy-saving approach meets or even exceeds the most rigorous global regulations, so it is ideally suited for Vietnamese weather conditions.

Speed Queen: a new contender in the laundromat market
Richard L. Pyle, president of Alliance Laundry Systems International 

High-quality devices also help cut down on service time significantly.

According to Nguyen Huong Giang, general director of Speed Queen Vietnam, the first Speed Queen branch in Ho Chi Minh City will introduce an “all-in-one” smart model with which consumers can wash and dry their clothes in a single hour.

In fact, laundry stores will be a type of mini convenience stores. Therefore, in order to dominate the market, brands will have to quickly expand the scale of their chains. Speed Queen plans to open about seven more stores this year and about 250 stores nationwide within five years of operation in the residential areas and commercial centres of many big cities, such as Hanoi, Danang, and Can Tho.

Speed Queen: a new contender in the laundromat market
Speed Queen plans to open eight stores this year and 250 stores within five years

The lesson Alliance took from its other Southeast Asian markets is that personal utility services are going to play a crucial role in the future.

There are now over 2,000 laundromat stores in Malaysia, despite being virtually non-existent four years ago. Similarly, Singapore is aiming to develop a laundromat store model in a street. Statistics show that Speed Queen’s services account for the largest market share in these two markets.

By Ngoc Huyen

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