HomeTechHow Dyson’s ambition to become a British tech giant hit trouble

How Dyson’s ambition to become a British tech giant hit trouble

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On the face of it, Dyson’s business is in rude health. Sales hit a record £7.1bn last year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, a measure of profit, was close to an all-time high at £1.4bn. 

However, growth has slowed in recent years. Between 2015 and 2019, revenues trebled, climbing from £1.7bn to £5.4bn. In the following four years, they have risen at a steadier pace, climbing by a third.

That has been outpaced by heavy investment spending. R&D costs rose by 40pc last year alone and the company has forked out for new facilities such as a cutting edge battery plant in Singapore.

Dyson has been squeezed by low-cost Asian competitors. A search for cordless vacuums on Amazon yields dozens of lookalike products, some even in the company’s trademark purple hues.

Announcing the job cuts on Tuesday, Kirner pointed to “increasingly fierce and competitive global markets” and added that the “pace of innovation and change is only accelerating”.

Dyson has traditionally stayed one step ahead of rivals with innovative new products, pioneering bagless vacuum cleaners in the early 1990s and the “stick” design in the late 2000s that has now become universal.

However, its innovation credentials have come into question in recent years. In 2019, the Brexit-backing Sir James was forced to scrap a £500m electric car project, saying the plan was not “commercially viable”.

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