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July/August 2021 ertonline.co.uk


Q&A


Q: How have things been in general for you lately? Peter Booth: The market is booming. Our challenge – and our opportunity – has been keeping pace with the market and we believe we have done that through better planning, better products and better collaboration with our retail partners. The TV market has been relatively flat for the last


four or five years at around £2.4 or £2.5 billion in the UK; last year that was up to more than £2.8 billion. There’s been huge growth in demand in the past year and we’ve never seen that pattern before. We have taken value share in that time too, and we are very close to our aim of being number one, which is fantastic. This is all coming predominantly from OLED evo – our leading premium TV technology, helped along by advancements at our sister company, LG Display. As we all know, home appliances saw huge


increases in demand in almost every country; we gained seven per cent market share in washing machines, for example, with significant share in the premium end. And in cooling we’ve got a really strong position in premium side-by-side. Our InstaView fridges have been fundamental towards this; we sold a million of these globally last year, which is an incredible achievement! But we are a big player in a massively crowded market. In terms of global results, Q4 2020 was a record


for the company, which made it a record year overall. Fast forward to Q1 this year and our strength in appliances continued; this section of our business is bigger than people think.


Q: What about the challenges of the past year? How would you say you have overcome these? PB: The biggest challenge all manufacturers have had is availability of product. When we first went into lockdown naturally I think people feared the worst, and then we saw an unprecedented surge in demand in our industry. This forced us to be better planned, and if


anything we have probably worked closer with our retail partners and had an applied and shared learning, especially with the transition to digital and understanding consumers’ new online behaviour. The buzzword in the past year has definitely been 'digital transformation'. Some retailers have seen around 50 per cent of


their sales come from new customers, and of course they will do everything they can to keep those customers. So a key challenge for the indies now is encouraging people back into their stores and giving them a reason to visit. We have been super fortunate to be part of a


booming industry, but we cannot be complacent as this is a moment to seize a unique opportunity. Since stores reopened – and even while they were closed – there was a big drive to shop local


The new showroom in Weybridge


17


The trends in spends we have seen through COVID-19 have been nothing short of remarkable


and I think we have all relied on local services a lot. And this is the independent retailer’s forte! We want consumers to visit a store and think “wow”, we want to give them something they are not expecting. If you are just going to clutter your displays with lots of different models it’ll be confusing and overwhelming – “less is more” we believe. Another learning for me during the pandemic


is the need to take a breath. It has never been more important to analyse what we have learned and ask ourselves where we want to be in the future.


What have been some of your standout products in the past year or so? PB: Definitely our OLED TVs. We’ve seen two key trends – the first demonstrating that consumers are making more considered purchases, the other is “going large” with bigger screens as families were gathering together during the lockdowns. A lot of people purchased a new TV and viewing time was certainly up for most households. If a retailer shows someone a bank of TVs


instore I am certain they’ll stand for longer in front of OLED screens – they just grab people’s attention. And while there have always been different viewing modes, like general, movie or sport, LG televisions auto-detect the content – which is a feature customers probably don’t know about until they talk with the retailer. For high-end soundbars, we saw a definite pick


up in sales; some weeks our best-selling model was our SL8 soundbar – with a retail of circa £1,499… that’s not bad when a customer couldn’t see it in the flesh, let alone hear it!


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