What happened

Robotic vacuum specialist iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) beat the market last month, rising 16% compared to a 6% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts.

The spike added to the stomach-churning volatility that shareholders have been experiencing lately. iRobot's stock has been up as much as 70% -- and down by as much as 10% -- in just the past 52 weeks.

So what

January's rally reflected rising optimism that iRobot had a solid holiday sales quarter. After all, Amazon.com announced in late December that robotic vacuums were among its best-selling items during the holiday rush, and that bodes well for the industry leader. (iRobot owns roughly 64% of the market for premium vacuum devices.)

A man reclines on a white couch while a robotic vacuum cleans the floor.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

At its latest quarterly check in in late October, iRobot raised its outlook after sales spiked 22% in the third quarter. CEO Colin Angle and his executive team believe revenue will now stop at $875 million at the midpoint of guidance.

Investors will find out on Feb. 7 whether the company hit that aggressive target or instead had to settle for something lower as competition ate away at its dominant market share in the robotic vacuum industry.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.