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feature: laundry


Freestanding leads the way in laundry


In what for many was a challenging year last year, laundry appliances continued to perform well. Despite being predominantly a replacement market, consumers increasingly began to opt for appliances which demonstrated solid eco-credentials, using smart connectivity to mitigate harmful effects on the environment. In our third feature this month, we take a temperature check of the market courtesy of some of the biggest brands, and ask what retailers can look forward to this year.


F


or Alex Lucas, Category Manager Dishwashing and Laundry, BSH


Home Appliances Ltd, the laundry sector’s performance was solid, if not spectacular. “Although it’s a challenging time for a number of sectors, we have seen a steady performance in laundry in the past 12 months and we’re expecting that to continue this year. Consumers are increasingly looking for appliances that can save them time and money when they’re in use, and we’re well placed to provide that. “The new Energy Label requires the classification of every washing machine to be changed next year, which will create challenges but also opportunities for retailers and manufacturers alike.” Steve Macdonald, business director,


Freestanding Division, Hoover Candy UK, highlights the importance of freestanding appliances to the sector. “Freestanding laundry accounts for the largest share of the freestanding market. Freestanding laundry was flat year-on- year, showing it has remained stable. “With the uncertainty around Brexit, consumers are thinking more about purchases and only buying when necessary, although the replacement element of the market means that there will always be some degree of stability. “Around 33 per cent of buyers make a


purchase decision within 1-2 days compared to 22 per cent of people buying cooking appliances. We also know that for many consumers, laundry appliances are viewed as


a functional or distress purchase, with 63 per cent of purchases being triggered by a faulty product and 29 per cent occurring after an old appliance has stopped working.” Catherine Balderson, Senior Hotpoint Brand Manager, echoes the point about freestanding, and highlights a possible reason for its dominance. “Freestanding appliances are continuing to drive sales within the laundry category, with sales of built-in models declining by two per cent in value terms. “Laundry appliance sales are largely driven by


the replacement market. Laundry appliances, particularly washing machines, are a household essential and tend to be replaced quickly when faults or breakdowns occur. Built-in laundry


26 | www.innovativeelectricalretailing.co.uk


options are very much more considered and need to be placed in a specific position within the kitchen or utility room, which results in fewer sales compared to freestanding models, which can be placed more freely within the home.” Sara Bazeley, Brand Manager at Indesit,


touches on the larger capacity of freestanding models as influencing consumer decisions, as well as their portability. “Freestanding laundry appliances are a popular choice for consumers due to the many benefits that they offer, including the fact that they offer larger capacity options, as integrated appliances are constrained by the addition of the integrated door. What’s more, consumers have the choice of taking freestanding appliances with them if they move and are also able to renovate their kitchen with relative ease.” Laura Jones, head of products at Smeg


UK, agrees. “Unlike other major appliances categories freestanding is preferred over integrated when it comes to laundry care. According to Euromonitor, freestanding models will continue to outperform built-in models over the forecast period (to 2024), because freestanding machines tend to have larger drum capacities and therefore save the consumer time, money, energy, water and detergent.” According to Charmaine Warner, Brand


Manager at Whirlpool, “Market data reports that freestanding laundry appliances are still favoured over built-in models. Despite built-in appliances being more popular in both refrigeration and cooling appliance categories,


February/March 2020


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