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From cooking to cleaning to simply sitting on the sofa and relaxing, so many activities we do in and around the home are driven and supported by the home appliance industry. A home appliance is essentially a device or an appliance which assists with household functions and actions, with most appliances being designed and manufactured for a single function or purpose rather than to serve multiple uses. As such, the industry is not only huge but it is constantly expanding in line with technological and electrical innovation: with brands, manufacturers and retailers consistently looking for and identifying new areas of the home which could benefit from the inclusion of some form of appliance.
When it comes to defining and breaking down the industry as a whole, the expanse of products available only serves to prove just how committed these industry retailers are to providing for the mass market, finding new ways of creating innovative new features with every new product release, while still maintaining a baseline market of simple appliances which are affordable and which often benefit from additional discounts and deals in line with the bottom end of the market.
Understanding the home appliances industry
Home appliances are defined as items which exist in the home and are designed to aid certain tasks and functions. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that the industry really started to come into its own with self-contained electrical and gas powering, driving forward development in line with the need for convenience and appliances which made daily life easier.
The home appliances industry is often broken down into three different areas:
- Large white goods / large appliances
- Small appliances
- Brown goods / consumer electronics
The large white goods and appliances and those main staples which are found across most modern homes and which are designed to support daily life. These include fridges and freezers, cooking and washing machines; all of which have undergone transformations over the last couple of decades and are now joined on the market by smart appliances – something we will explore later in the industry trends section of this article.
Small appliances are those counter-top electrics which are not as integral to daily life but which certainly elevate the user’s lifestyle and make certain actions much easier. Examples include toasters, kettles, microwaves, food processors and blenders.
And then we have the brown goods and consumer electronics, which are named as such to distinguish them from the household white goods – putting them in the category of electrical items which are used in the home primarily for entertainment purposes rather than household functions and activities. Examples include televisions, radios, DVD players, alarm clocks, digital cameras and telephones.
One of the main things to understand and acknowledge about the home appliance industry and its growth over the last few years and decades, is the way that these different products are gradually being grouped together and joined through advanced technology, using the internet in particular to connect home appliances with remote control data and communication solutions.
The other main area of the home appliance industry is the services sector which is committed to maintaining, restoring and recycling old and broken appliances for future use. These services are often performed by industry professionals, opening up and highlighting a career sector which makes space for experts in electrical goods who know how to isolate an issue and fix it. And of course, as home appliances become more reliant on various technologies with the expansion of the smart appliance industry sector and the wide variety of functions that appliances can now perform, the demand for service professionals across each area is only continuing to grow.
Top retailers in the home appliances industry
When you look at the main retailers in the home appliances industry, it immediately becomes clear that the industry is undergoing a shift – with more and more home appliances being made by and in partnership with technology brands as well as white goods specialists. LG Electronics is a great example of a home appliance brand which sits at the top of the sector but which is actually renowned for its innovative technology – injecting these modern and unique features into new home appliances in order to meet the consumer demand for increasingly smart and innovative appliances.
In fact, when you look at the list of top home appliance brands on a global scale, the link between these brands and technological advancement is so prominent that there is little room in the industry now for new products which do not employ some form of technology for user experience.
Other names in the top brands list include:
Of these brands, Bosch and Miele are two of the oldest brands with over 100 years each in the industry; providing them with the stability of a world-famous name and a very reliable history of providing high quality appliances to homes all over the world.
If you are looking to buy an appliance either online or on the high street, top retailers with the best deals and vouchers available, as well as the widest selection of brands and products, include:
- John Lewis
- Home Depot
- Best Buy
And then there are the second-hand dealerships and sites where consumers and buyers alike can head to browse and list various items that they are selling on for any number of reasons. One of the major trends which influences retailers in the home appliance sector is the consistent development and release of new products and their subsequent new features. For those consumers who can afford to and wish to upgrade their appliances in line with these new features and developments, it often makes sense for them to list their existing and older appliances on sites like eBay and Gumtree – choosing to sell them on to someone who might want it, rather than throwing it away. These marketplace sites have become particularly popular in recent years with the volume of new product releases meaning that there are always good deals to be had online through these selling sites – a concept which is particularly heralded for its recycling promotion and the idea of reusing and revamping rather than replacing appliances.
Trends in the home appliances industry
As we have previously touched on more than once, perhaps the most important trend in the home appliances industry is the rise in technology and the growth of the smart appliance – one which is able to be connected to the internet in order to pair it with other appliances in the home, to allow it to be controlled remotely, and to give the user more control over its features and actions.
The future of the home appliances industry is reliant on connective technology, with inventions like the Amazon Echo and Alexa giving homeowners more influence and control over their appliances using voice technology and remote controlling. One example of smart technology in action can be seen across some of the more modern fridges, which not only provide additional features like a water dispenser on the front and an ice maker inside, but which can now list the items which are needed by tracking user habits and establishing which items as missing, sync grocery lists to your smartphone so that you can access the contents of your fridge while you are out and about, switch on a transparent fridge door setting so you can see inside your fridge without opening it, and even play music remotely through the fridge with a built in speaker and remote connection to music playlists.
What this example shows is how something as basic as a fridge can be enhanced to elevate the user experience, primarily by thinking about and developing the fridge in ways that make it more useful and beneficial for the end user. What these retailers and manufacturers have done is research the ways in which consumers interact with their fridges, finding gaps in their experiences and then filling those gaps with new and improved methods of use.
One of the main concerns showcased by consumers in light of these developments and product releases is the cost, with many customers considering the smart appliance to market to be one created for the high level wealthy consumers rather than average customers. However, one of the benefits of such a saturated and widely spread market is that with so many retailers and manufacturers keeping up with these trends, there will always be more affordable options – and there will always be deals and discounts advertised in order to entice potential customers in. As with anything, cost depends on your chosen model and make rather than the item itself.
Vacuum cleaners are another sector of the home appliance industry which has seen great shifts in the last few years, with consumers constantly looking for new styles which make cleaning easier and which take the challenges of tight corners and small spaces and finally create ways of keeping those areas clean without problems. In the vacuum cleaner sector alone, there are a few industry leaders, including Hoover, Dyson and Electrolux – each taking the same deign concept and adding their own unique features to help it stand out. Dyson is perhaps the most successful in terms of innovation, using the idea of a ball to give the vacuum extra traction as it goes around corners. Meanwhile, Hoover is renowned for being more affordable and is also the oldest brand – with users commonly referring to vacuum cleaners as hoovers due to the prominence of the brand in the sector.
Another trend in the home appliance industry, and one which operates on a much more foundational level than the use of technology, is the aesthetic and the way that appliances are developing and changing in line with the way that consumers want them to look and fit into their kitchens. White goods and large appliances are named for the simple fact that they have always been white. However, in recent years these goods have undergone a transformation – keeping up with aesthetic trends in modern homes through the provision of grey and silver appliances, as well as more vibrantly coloured appliances.
As homes become more modern, one of the major trends that many decorative and appliance retailers are seeing is the idea of appliances and functional items being disguised rather than standing out in a modern home. This means that suddenly, washing machines and fridges are being designed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen cabinets – either with a cabinet door concealing them entirely, or using colour selection to give consumers more control over the finished effect and look of their appliances.
Another trend which is linked with aesthetics is the growth in small appliances – and the idea that smaller appliances can actually be made even smaller in order to fit more into a compact space. The small appliance sector is the one which largely operates across and encompasses items which are considered luxuries rather than must-haves – meaning that they already tailor to a more limited audience. As such, retailers and manufacturers are consistently looking for new ways of expanding their repertoire to cater to innovative trends: for example the now iconic George Foreman which uses a very simple design of two heated plates in order to allow users to cook meat, make toasted sandwiches, heat and grills various items, and even cook breakfast pancakes. In short, what George Foreman did was spot a gap in the market for a small appliance which delivered more than a single function and used simplicity to create something which every home could benefit from.
When it comes to buying home appliances, cost plays a big part – with various retailers offering all manner of different discounts and deals in line with seasonal trends, new releases, and product popularity. Some of the most successful brands in the home appliance market are those which create products to cater to all areas of the market, however there is a name to be made by those which target only the high end consumers – creating through them a coveted brand name which sits at the top of the wish list of consumers all over the world.