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FROM THE BENCH Alan Bennett on LCD screen variants
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In and around the industry
The Green Room – Dishwashers
The UK dishwasher market is performing well, but notable growth in household penetration continues to elude the sector
Home Entertainment & AV Accessories
Consumers’ expectations continue to rise as product developments deliver even better sound and picture quality
George Cole Gets Connected
VHS and DVD both celebrate anniversaries this year – GC’s CE champion takes a stroll down memory lane
From the Bench
Alan Bennett explains the pros & cons of the different LCD screen types
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COMMENT LAST MONTH’S COMMENT WAS MILDLY CRITICAL OF THE BEHAVIOUR OF “LEADING” POLITICIANS DURING THE BREXIT DEBATE; AND ALSO OF THE PRINCIPAL PARTICIPANTS IN THE BHS SCANDAL.
suddenly making themselves scarce and any of us thought that the outcome paralysing the entire political system at of the EU referendum, whichever way exactly the time we really need them to get the vote went, would result in our leaders on with it. stepping up, knowing what had to be done, I guess, as a proud “nation of shopkeepers,” putting their personal differences aside and we’ll muddle through. Lions, even when led working together for the good of the country, by donkeys, often win out. we were far mistaken. We did not last month, nor will we As it turns out, there’s hardly a leader now, expatiate on the hugely to be seen. They’ve all scattered heralded “Great Summer of and run away. The Prime Sport.” Except to notice Minister is giving up. that the England coach Brexit victor Boris, “It may well has also resigned, strongly tipped as be just a drip to you, and to hope that Prime Minister in Mr Chappell, but what Rio is ready for the waiting, has decided about all the creditors Olympic Games. not to run for the We can’t leave leadership of the who didn’t get any of that the BHS affair Tory Party, allegedly £2.6 million because it without a few falling victim to was diverted into your final words, on backstabbing by a pocket?“ the grounds that it “friend” (in politics? represents the kind of Surely not). The power people who can, and do, vacuum left the Tories – the get into retail these days. current party of Government – Dominic Chappell, the man who too preoccupied with their leadership bought the company for £1, and took £2.6 election to have any time for working on million in payments from it before it crashed, post-Brexit strategy. has been defending himself. “I took a big Another Brexit “winner,” Nigel Farage, risk going in,” he said. What exactly was that announced he was stepping down from risk? £2.6 million for a £1 bet looks decidedly leadership of UKIP to “get his life back.” unrisky. “We live in a risk reward society,” he Though he will, of course, continue drawing added. “That’s the way companies are built the salary and benefits associated with his and fail. Did I take a lot of money out? Yes I post as an MEP. did. But did the business fail because of the The only major party leader in England not amount of money I took out? No it didn’t. This to have stepped down is the one who has an was just a drip in the ocean compared to the overwhelming majority of his parliamentary money that was needed to turn around BHS.” party telling him he must resign immediately. It may well be just a drip to you, Mr Thanks for that, ladies and gentlemen of Chappell, but what about all the creditors who the political classes. We all, after a period didn’t get any of that £2.6 million because it of bitter division, disgraceful bullying and was diverted into your pocket? And that’s not barefaced lying, would also like our lives to mention the £1.5 million loan he made to back, in the sense that we need to get back his father out of company funds. “It had no to working together. But with indecision, impact whatsoever on BHS,” he said. “And uncertainty and self-advancement all we can yes, I needed to help my parents, which I did.” see from our “leaders,” it’s difficult to know Well, that’s all right then. If there’s £1.5 what to do for the best. million lying around anywhere that would It’s all a bit of a mess. Not because of the have “no impact whatsoever” on its owners, I’d outcome of the referendum, but because definitely lend it to my Dad. Wouldn’t you? of the people we pay to work on our behalf 4
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SHOPPERS STAY AWAY FROM HIGH STREET AFTER “EU SHOCK” Retailers began to experience the repercussions of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, with a sizeable drop in visitor numbers recorded after the event.
ootfall at top shopping destinations fell almost 5% in the seven days following the result of the EU referendum, according to research conducted exclusively for The Mail on Sunday. Traditional high streets were the worst affected, with shopper numbers down 11% by the middle of the following week. The study was conducted by retail intelligence firm Springboard, which also provides footfall statistics for the British Retail Consortium. Springboard director Diane Wehrle told the Sunday newspaper: “This is the most significant change we’ve had in our political landscape for decades. People’s attention has been diverted away from going shopping and they’re also perhaps a bit wary. There is uncertainty about where we are going to end up.”
Wehrle added that people tend to get used to the new reality of situations quite quickly. “But I can’t see there being a great uplift,” she said. “We’re not going to see people rushing off to the shops because they’re all feeling really positive. The more negative news we hear, the more uncertainty we feel.”
UK CONSUMER CONFIDENCE – BEFORE AND AFTER THE BREXIT VOTE
onsumer confidence remained in negative territory early in June as the looming EU referendum prolonged uncertainties about the future of the UK economy, but in the days following the vote it wiped out three years of gains.
Interviews carried out by GfK for its Consumer Confidence Index in the first two weeks of the month determined that the figure remained at -1, the same as in May this year. Two of the measures used to calculate the Index saw increases, one showed a decrease and the remaining two measures stayed the same. Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, said the data clearly did not provide insights
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into how the major impact of the EU referendum result had changed consumer sentiment. “Nevertheless,” he commented, “one trend that continued in the run up to the referendum is a deepening pessimism over the general economic situation. As we approached voting day, this was already 18 points lower than in June 2015 and it’s almost certain we’ll see this worsening when next month’s results are in.”
DAD GEARS UP FOR 2016 SUMMER TRADESHOW
The YouGov/Cebr Consumer Confidence Index, which measures economic sentiment on a daily basis, fell significantly after the vote to leave the EU. In the first three weeks of June it stood at 111.9 but in the early days that followed the referendum, it slumped to 104.3.
Stephen Harmston, Head of YouGov Reports, said: “Four days of uncertainty have wiped out the gains made over the last three years. The last time consumer confidence was at this level was in May 2013. “While it has not yet plumbed the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, when it fell to a score of 67.4, it is only a week after the referendum and we fully expect it to decline further as the consequences of Brexit kick in.” GfK’s Staton said: “In these extraordinary consumer circumstances, all bets are off until we all know more. We can expect plenty of volatility in consumer confidence at least until Brexit negotiations are underway. The longer term mood will then depend on how smoothly those negotiations go.”
loucestershire-based distributor DAD is promising to deliver a Summer Tradeshow that will be “better than ever” this year, running at Chepstow and Nottingham racecourses on two separate days. The company will display and demonstrate its latest product ranges from Montpellier, Sharp and Servis, and offer a number of tradeshow-only deals from brands such as LG, Iceking, Hotpoint, Indesit and Beko. Visitors will have the opportunity to find out more about the Montpellier Priority Partner Program (PPP), which gives retailers the resources to promote the Montpellier PPP range with exclusive product, point of sale, brochures and flyers. A number of other activities will take place during the events, including a Caribbean race night at Chepstow featuring The Trenchtown Experience Bob Marley tribute band. The show at Chepstow Racecourse takes place on Friday 22nd July 2016 and the Nottingham Racecourse event on Tuesday 2nd August 2016. Both start at 10am.
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WHIRLPOOL REAFFIRMS FULL-YEAR GUIDANCE W DIXONS CARPHONE REVEALS FULL-YEAR PROFITS Dixons Carphone was upbeat in the light of the UK’s EU ‘leave’ vote as it reported full-year results for the period to 30 April 2016.
he Group posted a 17% rise in pre-tax profits, to £447 million, on Group revenues of £9,738 million, up 5% on last year. Like-for-like revenue in the UK & Ireland grew 6% to £6,404 million and in the Nordics 4% to £2,632 million. Sales in Southern Europe fell from £606 million to £550 million. Dixons Carphone’s results followed days of economic turmoil in the wake of the Brexit vote, but Group Chief Executive Seb James was upbeat about the prospects for the Group. “The nation has spoken and there has been a vote to exit the EU in due course. As you can imagine, we have been giving some thought to this,” he said. “Our view is that, as the strongest player in our market and despite the volatility that is the inevitable consequence of such change, we expect to find opportunities for additional growth and further consolidate our position as the leader in the UK market.” James added that the company has “very ambitious” plans this year, including the opening of 150 new stores in the US in a joint deal with US telecoms company Sprint.
hirlpool Corporation has taken stock of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and has restated its fullyear guidance. The company said in a statement that it had prepared for either outcome of the vote. It said that its business in the UK represented approximately 5% of the company's global revenues in the 2015 fiscal year and that most of its products sold in the region were produced in other European countries. While acknowledging that the Brexit vote had created some uncertainties, Whirlpool said that, based on today's environment and strength of other parts of its global operations, it is reaffirming its full-year guidance of GAAP earnings per diluted share of $11.25 to $12.00 and ongoing earnings per share of $14.00 to $14.75. The company also expects to generate cash provided by operating activities of $1,400 to $1,550 million and free cash flow of $700 to $800 million. "Clearly the Brexit vote has created a number of uncertainties, many that will take some time to play out," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and chief executive officer of Whirlpool
Corporation (pictured). "The UK is an important country for us and we plan to continue delivering innovative new products in the UK and Europe." The company also said it plans to execute a previously announced cost-based price increase in the third quarter and expects to continue with strong ongoing cost productivity programmes to lower overall costs in the EMEA region. "As we have done in the past in all markets, we are prepared to take swift actions to offset the negative impact to our EMEA operations," said Fettig. "We will continue to monitor the situation closely to determine if additional actions may be required."
SENNHEISER GROUP TURNOVER HITS ALL-TIME HIGH
udio specialist Sennheiser reported record turnover and strong growth in key regions for its 2015 fiscal year. Total turnover rose by 7.5% to €682.2 million, with pre-tax profits coming in at €30.3 million. All three of the Group’s business regions reported growth. In the Americas, turnover rose 17.5% to €179.8 million. The APAC region (Asia and Australia) posted turnover of €147.2 million, up 11% on the previous year. EMEA remained the Group’s strongest region, with total revenue of €355.2
million and modest growth of 1.7%. Germany again saw double digit growth, but 84.5% of the Group’s revenues were outside of the country. Both the Consumer Electronics Division and Professional Systems Division registered growth. Turnover improved by 10.9% to €347 million in the Professional Systems Division, and the Consumer Electronics Division registered a 4.1% increase to €335.2 million. Co-CEO Dr. Andreas Sennheiser said the Group is also anticipating a successful year in 2016.
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ADR HERE TO STAY DESPITE BREXIT, SAYS RETAIL OMBUDSMAN
he Retail Ombudsman, which commenced operation in the UK in January 2015 to resolve complaints between consumers and traders, has said that free and easy dispute resolution schemes will remain, despite the UK voting to leave the EU. The not-for-profit organisation takes on both domestic and cross-border disputes across a wide range of retail and service sectors. In the year from May 2015 to May 2016 it dealt with over 60,000 complaints, including 4,600 relating to electrical goods. Chief Ombudsman Dean Dunham said: “One of the most successful and widely welcomed EU directives in the history of the European Union gave consumers in the UK greater scope to resolve disputes via Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) with retailers and traders without the need to get into costly court proceedings. This has laid the foundations for ADR and in my opinion, it is here to stay. In the run-up to the referendum The Retail Ombudsman took soundings from government agencies and said the feeling was unanimous: “Why would any government wish to abolish
ADR and rob the consumer of their free and easy way of sorting out their complaints?” “Every constituent is a consumer so, put quite simply, it would be electoral suicide,” said Dunham. “Retailers too have become very enthusiastic, after an admittedly lukewarm start. When a complaint reaches deadlock, handing it over to an ADR provider like The Retail Ombudsman and the many other ombudsman and non-ombudsman schemes lifts a huge burden of admin from their shoulders and also helps retain goodwill. “As the government commences the process of negotiating our exit, a repeal of the UK law which has been so universally welcomed, is simply not on the agenda.”
BEKO PARENT ACQUIRES PAKISTAN'S LEADING WHITE GOODS MANUFACTURER B
eko parent Arçelik has continued its investment in the South East Asian markets with the $258 million acquisition of Pakistan's market-leading home appliance brand Dawlance. The move is part of the Turkish manufacturer’s global expansion into fast-growing markets and will provide it with a strong platform for growth in the region as European markets reach saturation point for white goods and long-term economic sluggishness continues. The transaction will give Arçelik, which is owned by Turkey's largest industrial conglomerate Koç Group, a significant presence in the world's sixth most populated country at a time of increased economic growth. Pakistan's economy is forecast to grow around 5% annually for the next three years. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2016 subject to the fulfilment of closing conditions including regulatory approvals. Dawlance is the number one brand in refrigeration and microwaves in Pakistan, second in air conditioning and third in the laundry categories. It reported 2015 revenues of $221 million and EBITDA of $45 million.
GET CONNECTED JULY 2016
GERMAN ACCESSORIES DISTRIBUTOR ESTABLISHES UK SUBSIDIARY German electronic accessories distributor Wentronic is expanding its presence in Europe with a new subsidiary located in East Sussex.
entronic UK Ltd will concentrate on the eCommerce and professional installer channels with a comprehensive range of Network Cables, AV and IT Connectivity, LED lamps, Tools, Smartphone Accessories and Luxury Travel Accessories. The UK subsidiary will be headed up by Country Manager Tony Pulford (pictured), who has been active in the consumer electronics industry for over 25 years and is said to have expertise in sales, distribution and management. Wentronic is a family-owned company based in Braunschweig, Germany. It has annual sales in excess of €45 million over 220 employees based at six locations in Europe and Asia. The company markets around 12,000 items from stock and is represented internationally by a large trading network.
COMPUTERS UNLIMITED REBRANDS AS DIVISION OF EXERTIS UK
ondon-based distributor Computers Unlimited has rebranded as Exertis Unlimited as a division of Exertis UK. The distributor was acquired by Exertis just over a year ago. Tony Taylor, chief operating officer of Exertis Unlimited, said: “By retaining the Unlimited name, we’re recognising the unique culture, values and skills that have been built over the last 30 years. It’s also a strong statement to our vendors and customers that we will continue to offer the services and support that they have enjoyed, enhanced by the reach and resources of Exertis.”
Taylor added that the company has started discussions with its business partners and will continue to do so over the coming weeks to ensure that the changes are understood and embraced, and to confirm its status as a specialist distributor within the wider Exertis family. Contact details at Exertis Unlimited remain unchanged.
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FIRE AUTHORITIES DEMAND RECALL OF FIRE-RISK TUMBLE DRYERS The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 48 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, is calling on leading manufacturers to recall faulty tumble dryers which have been linked to thousands of fires, warning that people are "playing Russian roulette" by using the appliances.
he association said firefighters are attending three fires a day caused by the appliances. “Homes have been ruined, and in some cases the machines have burst into flames as people loaded them with clothes.” An inquest has opened into the deaths of two men who died after a tumble dryer caught fire. Government statistics show there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires between 2012 and 2014. The LGA is warning that companies running lengthy repair programmes for potentially dangerous machines, instead of recalling them, are risking the lives of millions of customers. In November 2015, a safety warning was issued for more than five million Indesit, Creda and Hotpoint dryers. Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the LGA's Fire Services Management Committee, said: "People using faulty tumble dryers
are unwittingly playing Russian roulette, and leading manufacturers need to recall affected models as soon as possible to protect their customers. "Firefighters are attending tumble dryer fires three times a day, which is alarming. These defective products are endangering lives, causing thousands of pounds of damage to homes and making people homeless. "People's safety must be the priority. It's been months since some manufacturers issued safety warnings over their tumble dryers but they need to be recalled as these appliances are still causing fires. Until they do so, consumers continue to risk falling victim to a devastating and tragic house fire.” The LGA is also calling on manufacturers to have fire-proof markings on all white goods to help fire investigators identify the make and model of any appliance damaged after causing a fire.
Moves Haier UK & Ireland has appointed David Yearsley to the role of Market Director, responsible for the company’s business divisions in the region. Yearsley brings almost two decades of experience to the role.
he Retail Ombudsman has established a product recall website for electrical goods which will automatically alert consumers who register their appliances if a recall or safety notice is issued. The independent organisation, which was set up to help resolve disputes between retailers and consumers, said the Whirlpool tumble dryer crisis “which saw thousands of consumers left in the dark about their dangerous appliances,” prompted the launch of the website. UK Recall is supported by almost 40 major electrical brands, Whirlpool included. The scheme is free and products can be registered online in just a few minutes. Chief ombudsman Dean Dunham said: “The Whirlpool crisis told us that relying on the media to alert the public
was just too random and potentially dangerous. “Electrical appliances are one of the most common causes of house fires and home insurers have the right to refuse a payout if you have failed to register your electrical appliances and therefore not followed manufacturers’ instructions when issued. “By registering with UK Recall, consumers will be immediately alerted if the manufacturer of the individual appliances you register issues a recall or safety notice. We will also ensure that you are registered on the manufacturer’s database. “There will also be a comprehensive database of recalls.” The register includes all electrical goods including computers and mobile and static telephones.
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Bolton-based PJH has appointed Richard George to the role of CEO. He has been with the company since 2011, latterly as COO. He succeeds Andrew Yates, who has been appointed CEO of PJH parent Globe Union Industrial Corporation. Yates succeeds Scott Ouyoung, who has been appointed Chairman.
Robert Tart and Daniel Griffiths have joined GDHA’s Range Cooking Division as Business Development Managers. Tart will be responsible for customer accounts in the East Anglian, Home Counties and South East Midlands areas. Griffiths will cover South Wales and parts of the South West.
Rob Tart 10
Kent-based audio company Chord Electronics has appointed ex-Naim Sales Manager Maurice Tryner to the role of Sales Manager for its UK operation.
Vestel has appointed Matthew Lang to the role of UK Managing Director, succeeding Paul Molyneux, who joined the company in 2014. Lang will be responsible for the development of Vestel’s OEM business and for its pan-European division, Sharp Home Appliances.
THE RETAIL OMBUDSMAN INTRODUCES AUTOMATED PRODUCT RECALL SCHEME
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EST CERTIFIES AND QUANTIFIES ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF GORENJE APPLIANCES
he Energy Saving Trust (EST) has endorsed a selection of Gorenje appliances and ascertained on average how much consumers can save in energy, money and carbon emissions by upgrading their old kitchen appliances to the Slovenian brand’s models. The impartial process assessed the energy consumption and running costs of a variety of Gorenje products. The results will be provided to retailers to use as a sales tool to help consumers quantify the energy savings they could make. Elaine Berry, EST client relationship manager, said: “Energy bills are a big concern for consumers but sometimes people find the statistics a little overwhelming. By positioning savings as real-life usage examples, we hope to make it very clear to consumers just how much they could save with Gorenje, both in financial and environmental terms.”
SHORTCUTS Vitamix has introduced a new 125-page recipe book entitled Summer Inspiration. It is available to buy online and for retailers to supply in-store (RRP £10.85). The launch is supported with Vitamix branded cookbook holders, summer-themed banners, window stickers and free recipe suggestion cards. Gorenje has launched an online cookbook explaining the various cooking systems on its HomeChef ovens and providing tips on steam cooking. It contains classic and international recipes and can be downloaded from the brand’s website. LG has partnered with entertainment ticket provider Ticketmaster to offer a £50 voucher to customers purchasing selected products from the LG 2016 audio range. The promotion runs until 24th August. Baumatic has launched a consumer campaign focusing on premium built-in appliances in its collection. ‘Accessorise your kitchen’ shows a hero appliance from each key category adorned with a different designer accessory. It will continue into the second half of the year with full-page ads appearing in glossy kitchens and interiors magazines. Hoover is offering a ‘gift with purchase’ promotion to consumers that buy selected integrated dishwashers from the brand. The offer entitles purchasers to claim a free set of red wine, white wine or champagne glasses and runs until Wednesday 31st August. Hotpoint has received a 2016 Red Dot Design award for its Class 9 premium ovens. The appliances are part of the brand’s new built-in collection and are available from July this year.
GET CONNECTED JULY 2016
WHIRLPOOL CONFIRMS REPOSITIONING TO PREMIUM BRAND STATUS Whirlpool UK Appliances has announced the repositioning of the Whirlpool brand in the premium market sector to ensure the Group’s portfolio is well placed following the acquisition of Indesit Company.
he company said it is “reigniting” the Whirlpool brand profile with new product ranges and offering a 2-year labour and 10-year parts warranty as standard across its entire product portfolio. Many will have observed the transition taking place, with the recent launches of a number of products such as the Supreme Care laundry range, the Wi-Fi enabled fridge freezer, the new Cooling Duo and the introduction of an induction oven to the brand’s Fusion built-in range of appliances. The new marketing strategy will include advertising across a multi-media platform set to begin in the autumn, and a key part of the company’s new approach involves greater support for independents and their trade partners, with significant investment in in-store display and training. Fiona Hope, Marketing Director at Whirlpool, said: “The spirit of the Whirlpool brand, which focuses on performance excellence, technology and innovation, will continue to create intuitive, purposeful technology that senses your needs and helps to free up your time for what really matters. “Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd offers a variety of complementary brands and products in our portfolio to service the UK and Ireland, generating many opportunities for all our trade partners and consumers alike. “Whirlpool’s 6th Sense® technology has been with us for decades, and is continually evolving to enrich the lifestyles of our consumers. The newest developments, that have resulted in the introduction of our 6th Sense Live® connected appliances, ensure that Whirlpool is now well and truly at the forefront of the market, and the new premium brand positioning is exactly where Whirlpool belongs.” As a Group that now incorporates Indesit Company, Whirlpool said it offers “a range of exciting brands to reflect the variety of market sectors, providing choice for both the retailer and consumer.”
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK
DIXONS CARPHONE OPENS 3-IN-1 FLAGSHIP STORE
D EXPANSION LEADS TO NEW ROLE AT HUGHES ELECTRICAL
ughes Electrical has appointed Mark Swash to the newly created position of logistics & distribution manager as part of its continuing expansion programme. Swash has many years’ experience in logistics and distribution and will be based at Hughes 60,000 sq ft warehouse and distribution centre in Thetford, which has almost 50 employees and houses over 4,000 different lines of electrical equipment. “My immediate priority,” he said, “is to carry out a full assessment of the warehouse, its facilities, stock control systems, functionality, dispatch of goods and how they are transported by our own vehicles to 50 locations throughout East Anglia, the Midlands and the South East.” “As a company we are growing rapidly with an annual turnover of well over £100 million,” said Hughes sales director Andy Pallant. “That growth means we need to bring in experienced people with the right skills to ensure we continue to grow in the most profitable way possible. “With 50 physical locations around the UK to service, plus a thriving online business, logistics and distribution are becoming increasingly important, which has led us to appoint Mark to this new position and we are confident he will make a valuable contribution to the future success of Hughes.”
ixons Carphone has opened a new London flagship store which merges the PC World, Currys and Carphone Warehouse brands in one central location in the capital. The Oxford Street outlet offers a carefully curated range of premium products and, according to the retailer, “it is the most up to date expression of what Dixons Carphone stands for as a company: technology, connectivity, service, knowledge and the widest, yet most relevant, range of products.” A number of new store concepts and features have been introduced in the new retail space, including a Digital feature wall with over 20m2 of LED screens delivering 4k content; Dyson and Nespresso stores-within-a-store; a greater range of accessories and wearables with a new Headphone
Wall and Smart Watch Wall making it easier for customers to choose the right product. The flagship store also focuses on services, with the first combined PC World Business and KnowHow consultation space, which is fitted with charging points for customer convenience, and a Dedicated Multiplay space serving customers’ connectivity needs, including TV and broadband bundles, connected devices and on-demand content, and offering Multiplay expert advice. The retailer said Oxford Street is a model for future high street 3-in-1 stores. Successful elements will also be rolled out to its wider estate. “The retail environment continues to evolve and we know
that our customers are incredibly discerning, so we need to provide an exciting, engaging and connected shopping experience combined with competitive pricing and excellent service,” said Group Chief Executive Seb James. “We have designed a real destination store that’s full of innovation and technology firsts that I’m sure our customers will love.”
LG OPENS SHOP-IN-SHOP IN HULL’S HANSON ELECTRICAL
has continued its shop-inshop expansion scheme with the opening of a new retail space in Hanson Electrical, Hull. This latest addition to the manufacturer’s portfolio showcases 20 of its home appliance products in a dedicated, branded LG area. Dave Baron, Owner of the retail business, said the shop-in-shop “looks fantastic”. “It’s completely transformed part of our shop floor, and as this is a new partnership we are really looking forward to working with
LG and are confident it will be beneficial for us both long term.” “Our ongoing investment in the independent sector is testament
to the success of LG’s shop-inshop programme,” added Andy Mackay, Chief Operating Officer at LG Electronics UK.
MIDWICH RELEASES ADDITIONAL CREDIT TO SUPPORT SMART TECHNOLOGIES PARTNERSHIP
echnology distributor Midwich is offering new credit opportunities worth up to £30 million to its channel partners to support its recently announced partnership with SMART Technologies. Over £4 million of credit has
already been distributed to enable Midwich’s AV and IT channel partners, including resellers, integrators and installers, to purchase SMART Technologies products. “Whilst we are helping to accelerate SMART Technologies’
channel strategy, we are also providing partners with readymade credit facilities,” said Louise Nevard, Head of Credit at Midwich. “For Midwich, the initiative will drive sales, open up many new customer relationships and help us further strengthen our existing ones.”
Stuart Mizon, Divisional Director at Midwich, said the proactive credit strategy will help channel partners sell more SMART Technologies products, “giving them an instant edge over competitors that do not yet have access to the comprehensive range we offer.”
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THE PRODUCT GALLERY
AEG LAUNCHES GOURMETPRO™ FOOD PREP RANGE AEG has introduced a range of food preparation appliances, designed in conjunction with LeCordon Bleu Culinary Institute. The Good Housekeeping Approved GourmetPro™ collection uses PowerTilt® technology, which is said to preserve the flavour and nutrients of ingredients by optimising the way in which they are sliced, chopped and blended. j
03445 611 611 | www.aeg.co.uk
TEAC TN-570 ‘FLAGSHIP’ TURNTABLE TEAC’s flagship TN-570 belt-driven turntable aims to deliver the highest audio fidelity in the brand’s bestselling range of analogue models. It has a clear 16mm acrylic platter and Dual Layer composite artificial marble Onyx Emperador/MDF base, secured on a honeycomb structure bottom cover. The materials have been chosen for their ability to help minimise unwanted resonance. j
HOOVER INTRODUCES NFC-ENABLED WASHING MACHINES Hoover has announced the launch of a new generation of One Touch washing machines incorporating Near Field Communication technology. The accompanying One Touch app is available for compatible NFCenabled devices running Android 4.4.
BRITANNIA EXTENDS RANGE COOKER COLLECTION WITH STANZA LAUNCH Professionally-styled Stanza range cookers are the latest addition to Britannia Living’s portfolio of cooking products. The 90cm model has six burners, including a 5kW dual wok burner; a large multifunction main oven and smaller conventional oven. The 100cm version has two 5kW wok burners and extra capacity in each oven. The dual fuel appliances are available in stainless steel or gloss black. j
www.britannialiving.co.uk | 0344 463 9705
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Users will also be able to monitor energy consumption and programmes, with ‘voice assist’ recommending the best programme for the laundry load. The appliances are also equipped with a Health Check monitoring and alert function. j
THE PRODUCT GALLERY
SUB-£500 MUSIC PLAYER FROM ASTELL&KERN Astell&Kern has introduced a high-resolution music player offering “the best performance and features” for less than £500. The new AK70 has features previously only found on highend models, such as Wi-Fi connectivity for music streaming and a balanced output option for optimum audio performance with headphones. The unit also has a micro SD slot which allows its 64GB memory to be expanded via 200GB cards. j
WHIRLPOOL GRAND COOLING DUO Whirlpool’s 60cm Grand cooling appliances can be sited individually or seamlessly linked together to provide side-by-side capacity of 620 litres. The refrigerator, SW8 AM2C XR, is equipped with Whirlpool’s 6th Sense® Fresh Control, which monitors temperature and humidity to create the ideal conditions for storing food. The freezer, UW8 F2C XB, benefits from 6th Sense® Freeze Control to reduce freezer burn and preserve the quality of foodstuffs. j
SUPPORT AND SOUND IN ONE TV BRACKET FROM VOGEL’S Vogel’s NEXT 8365 SoundMount TV bracket incorporates a soundbar with wireless subwoofer, capable of producing 300W of output and providing music streaming from smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth® audio streaming. SoundMount turns with the TV up to 120° left or right to face the viewer so the picture and sound effects are fully in sync. The unit will support screens ranging from 40” to 65” (max weight 30KG). j
HAIER DUO WASHING MACHINE COMES TO UK MARKET The Haier A+++ -30% energy-rated Duo dual drum washing machine, introduced at IFA Berlin in 2015, is to launch in the UK this summer. The Duo has an upper and lower drum and will wash up to 12kg of laundry simultaneously (upper drum 4kg; lower drum 8kg), with 12 programmes for the upper drum and 18 for the lower drum. Each drum is powered by its own Smart Drive Motor. j
www.haier.com/uk JULY 2016 GET CONNECTED
THE GREEN ROOM: DISHWASHERS
CHAINED TO THE KITCHEN SINK THE UK DISHWASHER MARKET IS PERFORMING WELL, BUT NOTABLE GROWTH IN HOUSEHOLD PENETRATION CONTINUES TO ELUDE THE SECTOR. GC REPORTS
ooking may be considered a creative and pleasurable activity but cleaning up afterwards is a pain in the proverbial. Let’s be honest: few people enjoy washing the dishes. Yet, in the UK, almost 60% of households continue to do just that, despite loathing the task and begrudging the time spent seeing it through. A short time ago, a well-meaning food magazine writer advised those that baulk at the prospect of the chore to “change the way you think about washing dishes.” For some, that may mean a session or two in therapy. On an internet forum discussing the uninviting task, one commentator wrote: “It was decided that four pieces of debris would be chosen and washed each time the sink’s crypt had been entered. Alcohol would surely become involved.”; “Nothing worse. I’d rather eat from a box,” said another. “Can’t we just break ‘em and buy new ones,” suggested a third. And the protests continued… “Over an hour. No dishwasher and only halfway done. I need a back massage.”; “…it’s mundane and tedious, it’s disgusting, and most of all, it
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takes a lot of our time away from doing things we like to do.”… But in spite of the unfavourable reaction that hand-washing dishes triggers, there are still many diehards in the antidishwasher fellowship. A recent survey by Hotpoint revealed that 42% of people believe dishwashers are a waste of either water or energy. Years of education and the taboos still exist.
According to GfK, dishwashers were one of the top-selling appliances in 2015, with value growth up 10% year on year, and volume up 15%. The new-build housing market has been a valuable contributor to this growth. According to the NHBC, 156,000 new homes were registered in the UK during 2015. But while this certainly lifts sales of dishwashers, it is a drop in the ocean when it comes to increasing penetration rates as there are 27 million households in the UK. But Owain Harrison, UK head of sales and marketing Built-in, Hoover Candy
Baumatic, expects the penetration rate to rise during the coming five years, and he quotes a number of factors that will contribute to this, relaxed planning regulations for housing developments and home extensions being amongst them. Another reason, he says, “is that the continued message from manufacturers about a dishwasher being both economical and energy efficient is definitely reaching today’s busy consumer, particularly when the alternative, washing up by hand, is still regarded as a time-consuming chore.”
Harrison informs us that Baumatic is undertaking a consumer awareness advertising campaign in autumn this year which will feature the brand’s 16 place setting dishwasher BDIF616 as one of the appliances within Baumatic’s built-in collection. The campaign will focus on style, presenting the product as a ‘fashionable’ item for the kitchen. There is little doubt that dishwasher manufacturers are trying to make
THE GREEN ROOM: DISHWASHERS
Premium brand Miele is offering a year’s free supply of its Ultra Tabs with G6000 Eco Flex dishwashers purchased until the end of September. “And for the end of the year we will also be running a £100 cash-back promotion,” says Dishwasher Category Manager Sian Bailey. The German brand is also launching an online campaign for the G6000 range to help communicate the benefits of its Quick PowerWash cycle. Hoover is using a ‘gift with purchase’ promotion to entice dishwasher purchasers, offering a free set of red wine, white wine or champagne glasses with selected appliances, including the Wi-Fi enabled Hoover Wizard model, until 31st August 2016. It is designed to attract a wide target audience and highlights key features such as the easy-click height-adjustable upper basket that accommodates long-stemmed glasses and the dedicated delicate and glassware wash programmes.
“Of all domestic appliances, the dishwasher suffers the most from consumer misconceptions”
BARRIER TO PURCHASE
One of the main reasons consumers state for not owning a dishwasher is lack of space in the kitchen. In Hotpoint’s recent survey, 55% of those polled gave this response. Sensibly, some manufacturers have endeavoured to overcome this
Caple’s Di625 60cm fully integrated dishwasher offers five wash programmes
appliance purchases more attractive to consumers, particularly by taking the sting out of the initial outlay on detergents. Earlier this year, Beko teamed up with detergent brand Finish in a promotion allowing purchasers to claim three months’ worth of free tablets across all models in its range. “We’ll be running it again in November to drive sales in the run up to Christmas, when many consumers will be thinking about upgrading or purchasing ahead of the busy festive season,” advises Beko’s Dishwasher Product Manager Laura Selten. Hotpoint is currently running a promotional campaign to educate consumers on its Zone Wash system which can direct 30% more washing power to any one of the appliance’s three baskets. The campaign is supported by TV advertising, in-store and digital promotional materials, social media and PR activity and continues until the end of December this year, during which time purchasers of selected Hotpoint dishwashers will be eligible for a free sixmonth supply of Fairy Platinum detergent.
major hurdle, Hotpoint amongst them. Some time ago the brand communicated in national TV advertising the fact that a slim-line dishwasher is actually the same width as a tea towel. It was an effective piece of advertising which encouraged consumers to think differently about the concept of space. It is widely acknowledged that the footprint of UK homes is shrinking, and this is not helping to overcome such a barrier to purchase. BSH, however, is working closely with Finish in an attempt to show consumers how they can be more creative with the space in their kitchens. The two have partnered in the launch of an interactive Tiny Kitchens Tour at: www.tinykitchenstour.com/bosch. The hub provides a virtual 360° tour of a selection of small kitchens to show how an appliance could fit into the space available. It illustrates how, by de-cluttering cupboards, wall-hanging pots and pans and mounting shelves over a window to provide extra storage, a busy mum managed to create enough room to install a dishwasher in an extraordinarily tiny area.
Innovations in product design in the dishwasher category have brought greater resource efficiencies, larger capacities with more flexible layouts and advanced washing and drying performances.
AMICA ZIM688E DISHWASHER WITH ‘MAXISPACE3’ Alongside a comprehensive range of freestanding dishwashers, Amica has launched a new fully-integrated model featuring useful BlueDot lighting that shines off the floor from behind the kitchen cabinetry when the cycle is complete. A++ for energy, washing efficiency and drying performance, the ZIM688E also features MaxiSpace3 – Amica’s spacesaving basket arrangement. Eight wash programmes, touch control and LED display, along with turbo dry and start delay, make this a hardworking addition to any busy kitchen. Like all Amica appliances, the new dishwasher carries a 2-year parts and labour guarantee.
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THE GREEN ROOM: DISHWASHERS
Tech Talk “Our new eco-friendly dishwashers have a patented Planetarium washing technology for intelligent cleaning. Planetarium technology uses a dishwasher arm with an asymmetrical axis and elliptical trajectories of water that double rotate for enhanced cleaning coverage.”
Lucy King Smeg UK Product Manager “Whirlpool’s 6th Sense® PowerClean Pro™ technology in the SupremeClean dishwashers ensures outstanding cleaning results on the toughest dried-on food, without the need to pre-scrub or pre-soak.”
Gorenje GV6SY2 Simplicity dishwasher
Jennifer Spragg Senior Brand Manager, Whirlpool
But current developments are focusing on improving energy ratings, according to Beko’s Laura Selten. “This is, in part, a direct result of the EU directives introduced from December 2015, which dictate that the energy efficiency rating for new models should be a minimum of A+,” she comments. “In fact, between January and April this year, 24% of dishwashers had an A++ rating, compared with just 16% for the same period in 2015.” Selton says this has also driven brands to focus heavily on creating models with lower water consumption. “Again, between January and April 2016, 34% of models had a 10-litre, or lower, water consumption rating, compared with 23% for the same period last year.”
“…the dishwasher is the perfect appliance for longterm tangible ‘green’ benefits”
It’s positive news for the category. However, as Jennifer Spragg, Senior Brand Manager at Whirlpool, notes: “Of all domestic appliances, the dishwasher suffers the most from consumer misconceptions. Many still think that it is a water guzzling, energy-crazed appliance,
“Built-in and freestanding 60cm dishwashers are coming with more sophisticated drying technology, not only to keep glassware smear and cloud free, but also to prevent any silverware from corroding.”
Rita Balestrazzi Sharp Home Appliances “We have recently introduced a new range of G6000 dishwashers that beneﬁt from an EcoTech heat storage system, providing energy ratings of up to A+++ -20%. Other highlights include a QuickPowerWash programme that cleans and dries crockery in just 58 minutes.”
Sian Bailey Dishwasher Category Manager, Miele “The new Indesit DFG 26B1UK MyTime dishwasher’s eco cycle is 25% quicker than previous models, saving up to 52 minutes, and is the fastest on the market.”
Stewart Herd Category Director, UK & Ireland, Indesit “The new Hotpoint SIUF 32120 slim-line dishwasher boasts a Super Silent noise level of just 43dB(A), quieter than normal conversation and even rainfall, and is one of the quietest slim-line models on the market.”
Andrea Felicetti Category Manager, Dishwashing, Hotpoint Baumatic BDIF616 60cm 16 place setting integrated dishwasher
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ULTRA FLAT DOORS
Designed to suit your kitchen style, these fridges come with clean, smooth ultra flat doors and ActiveSmartâ„¢ foodcare to keep food fresher for longer.
THE GREEN ROOM: DISHWASHERS
regardless of very green energy labelling. It is therefore essential to dismiss this myth and educate consumers. Compare the amount of water used to wash dishes by hand (Whirlpool estimates 42 to 104 litres of water per session) to that used by a dishwasher – a Whirlpool model uses as little as six litres for a full 14 place setting load. Immediately it is clear that in the course of a year the homeowner could save thousands of litres of water and realise significant savings on their energy bills too. As a result, the dishwasher is the perfect appliance for long-term tangible ‘green’ benefits. On average, it could save over 12,000 litres of water per year.” The trend for reduced operational noise levels has also been noted by a number of our commentators. Beko’s Selton says this can be attributed to the rise of open-plan kitchens and more people entertaining at home. “We’ve also seen models with larger capacity able to wash more place settings and better basket flexibility for large trays and awkwardly shaped crockery,” she adds. “Time saving is also key and we’re seeing a lot of models with quick wash programmes. All these features have obvious consumer benefits and encourage homeowners to consider upgrading their dishwasher to make energy and water savings in the long run. Those who previously rejected the idea of owning a
dishwasher because of the cost can now have confidence in the fact they could actually save more water than they would washing up.”
Sharp Home Appliances’ Rita Balestrazzi rightly points out that the dishwasher market has yet to fulfil its potential, and there are still plenty of first-time buyers to be targeted. But she sees the likelihood of an increase in step-up sales due to a growing demographic of home entertainers accumulating more international cooking knowhow, and thus a greater range of tableware to be washed. The dishwasher may not be considered an essential appliance for many households, but consumers that own one will be reluctant to revert back to washing dishes by hand. So the replacement segment will grow at a faster rate than first purchase, and the opportunity exists to sell customers models with higher levels of practical features, maintains Andrew Wasdell, Electrolux brands UK & IE, Product Manager, Dishwashing & FS Cookers. As for first-time buyers, Wasdell says: “The challenge and opportunity is to inform households that purchasing a dishwasher saves time – a week per year – plus they can recover the cost of initial purchase after a couple of years of ownership.”
Tech Talk “The Hoover Wizard DYM 762T WIFI-80 dishwasher combines both functionality and technology to create one of the most advanced models available on the market.”
Steve Macdonald Marketing Director, Freestanding Division, Hoover Candy UK “Our GV63214UK dishwasher has the capacity for 14 place settings, featuring a convenient third basket which oﬀers additional loading space for busy households.”
Stuart Benson Sales Director Gorenje UK “We oﬀer three models with 14 place settings – two built-in and one freestanding version – with energy ratings ranging from an impressive A++ to A+++.”
Danny Lay Managing Director, Caple “Some of our dishwashers use as little as 6.5L to wash a complete load: for example, the Siemens SN65M033GB. That’s less than it takes to ﬁll a kitchen sink.”
Alex Lucas Category Manager, Dishwashing, BSH “Our new EcoSmart 6-litre Dishwasher with AquaIntense (DFN28320) oﬀers the lowest water consumption on the market, and we market this as a unique selling point for any customers keen to save on their bills.”
Laura Selten Dishwasher Product Manager, Beko Plc “The Baumatic 60cm BDIF616 integrated dishwasher, a fully integrated and highly advanced top-of-the-range A+AA-rated 44dB 10-litre model, is innovatively designed to accommodate up to 16 place settings.”
Owain Harrison UK head of sales and marketing Built-in, Hoover Candy Baumatic “AEG has developed innovative WaterSave technology for dish care. This means that water is recycled internally, reducing consumption by up to 50% while at the same time delivering an exceptional clean.” Whirlpool’s WFO 3T323 6P SupremeClean dishwasher uses just six litres of water
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Andrew Wasdell Electrolux brands UK & IE, Product Manager, Dishwashing & FS Cookers
PRODUCT DESIGN AWARDS AWAR 2016 CELEBRATING THE DESIGN THAT PRODUCES GREAT PRODUCTS, GREAT BRANDS AND GREAT BUSINESS
YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO PLACE YOUR VOTES The nominees for the Get Connected Product Design Awards 2016 have been chosen, and retailers and distributors still have time to help decide which products will receive the final accolades Don’t miss out on the opportunity to vote for your favourite products and brands The products chosen by the Panel for nomination in the 2016 Awards are displayed on GC’s Awards Voting Page: http://gcmagazine.co.uk/vote. Simply tick the box(es) beside those you think would be worthy winners in each product category
The Closing date for voting is 25th July 2016 JULY 2016 GET CONNECTED
HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND ACCESSORIES
THE NEXT LEVEL GEORGE COLE LOOKS AT HOW MANUFACTURERS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE THE HOME ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE
he home entertainment market never stands still, and many customers are constantly upgrading products or accessories to enhance the viewing experience. As LG’s Dawn Stockell says: “Consumers’ expectations continue to rise when it comes to home entertainment systems, especially picture quality.” Neil King, head of home entertainment at Sony UK, explains how various developments are delivering even better sound and picture quality: “Our Bravia TV range has seen great changes in terms of technology and design. Our range has developed from 4K UHD to 4K HDR, taking viewing to the next level with higher
brightness, contrast and colour, resulting in more depth and detail than ever before.” King adds that soundbar technology has also developed in recent years, improving on sound quality and functionality. “Several of our soundbars incorporate highresolution audio, providing music lovers with the ability to get closer to the original recording and experience music as the artist truly intended.” Niek Fox, product director at One For All, says home entertainment has changed from a more traditional device market to one with more advanced devices, with functionalities like streaming video and audio services integrated. “Just about
Vogel’s NEXT 8365 full motion TV wall mount with integrated soundbar
WIRELESS MUSIC STREAMING FROM SMART DEVICE TO HI-FI Most of your customers’ music files are stored on smartphones, tablets and laptops, but these devices deliver lower sound quality than the music deserves. Two new Music Receivers from One For All, the SV1810 (£29.99) and the top-end SV1820 (£49.99), will allow them to stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth to their existing hi-fi system from any Bluetooth-enabled device, resulting in great sound quality. The SV1820 (recently awarded Five Stars by T3 magazine) includes a Wolfson DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), as well as APTx technology, a Bluetooth protocol specifically for high-quality audio streaming. Trade Sales: email@example.com vor phone 00 31 5 3488 8000
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everything has changed,” adds Armour’s Stephen Reichert. “Screen sizes continue to get bigger and bigger whilst the ‘price per inch’ gets ever smaller. Ultra HD has arrived for both TVs and projectors. Streaming content from the internet has really taken off and home cinema audio has changed. At the very top of the market, the new Dolby Atmos-encoded Blu-ray discs have brought new sales opportunities for dealers.”
According to Panasonic, smart and connected products are the fastest growing in the audio market. Products such as the company’s ALL Connected systems that allow consumers to enjoy music in any room of the home are proving popular. Connected products in the headphones market are also popular and should be a key focus for retailers, according to the Japanese manufacturer. Techlink MD Ralph Allen says the rise of networked audio and soundbars, the ever reducing margin on TVs and the downward spiral of ‘real’ home cinema in the mass market have all had a dramatic effect at retail – good and bad: “Those retailers that have looked for add-on revenue opportunities alongside screen sales continue to make a living. This includes products like wall mounts, cables, furniture and cleaning products, along with services such as TV or multi-room installation.” Home entertainment enthusiasts want various things when it comes to systems and components, and the key words seem
HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND ACCESSORIES
to be wireless and plug ‘n’ play simplicity, according to Armour’s Reichert. “Today’s consumer wants to be able to stream music and other content to their home entertainment systems via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. They want systems that are easy to connect and easy to control.” “TVs are getting bigger, more content is being piped around the house and so broadband and Wi-Fi are becoming an integral part of the solution,” adds James Attfield, MD of Turnstone AV, UK distributor for Vogel’s.
Sony’s King says consumers are embracing the idea of connecting their home to create a seamless home entertainment experience, and streaming is a big part of this. “We’ve recognised this, and many of our products – from speakers to our Bravia Android TVs – are compatible with Google Cast. Streaming audio also helps drive our multi-room proposition. “As TVs are becoming larger and thinner each year, consumers are demanding a sound experience to match. This opens up the opportunity for retailers to demonstrate how AV products such as soundbars are the ideal addition to boost the listening and viewing experience.” He adds that to help customers plan their home theatre setup, retailers should first consider how their in-store displays effectively demonstrate the benefits of a soundbar or sound base in conjunction with a TV. Sony’s 2016 range has a new ‘Slice of Living’ design that further demonstrates how the products can sit together in a home cinema setup. “If retailers have the space in-store they could also consider creating a dedicated listening room so customers can experience sound in a more home-like environment, away
“As TVs are becoming larger and thinner each year, consumers are demanding a sound experience to match”
from the ambient noise of a showroom. This also gives them an opportunity to demonstrate new TV features such as 4K and HDR in combination to show consumers the best possible home experience on offer.” People want to be able to enjoy great audio and video simply and conveniently, maintains Daniel Fletcher, MD and product architect at Orbitsound. “This is why we use our airSOUND technology that delivers the space and fidelity in audio from a single audio enclosure, without limiting the audience to a sweet spot, or needing speakers placed around a room.”
“Convenience and simplicity of use are valued much higher than absolute performance in the mass market,” comments Techlink’s Allen. “There is no point in hammering home messages such as ‘the best picture/the best sound’ when most customers will be happy with ‘good’ performance as long as it has ease of use. Multi-channel speaker systems for home cinema were often a difficult sell due to extra cables and loudspeakers around the home. 7.1, 9.1, and now 11.1 Dolby Atmos speaker configurations have moved home cinema out of the mass market and soundbars have stepped in. That is not all bad news for retailers, as more soundbars are being sold than home cinema systems, even at their peak, and incremental soundbar sales like cables and wall brackets can all add to the bottom line.” One For All’s Fox believes that customers have high expectations for both functionality and quality, and products like iPhones have raised the bar in regard to product design, finish and build quality.
STANLEY TV TOPSHELF INNOVATIONAL PRODUCT, UNIQUE TO THE UK MARKET Stanley TV Mounts Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of the innovative TV accessory – the TV TopShelf. The TopShelf allows your customers to reclaim the space above their TV. It is an easy to install shelving system for all Flat Panel TVs and provides space for mounting a soundbar, speakers, cable boxes, gaming systems or remote controls. Available in three widths: 6”, 12” and 24”, the Stanley TV TopShelf will fit most TVs and has an easy locking tab for quick installation. The TopShelf merchandise display is available in full colour and holds ten 6” items. The unit really stands out in-store and is fully informative of the product use and benefits. It is an ideal point-of-sale display to tempt impulse shoppers. Please contact Stanley TV Mounts Ltd on 03330 062690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
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He adds that standalone or portable headphone amplifiers, both of which are seeing growth, provide a good example of products that are driven by HE enthusiasts’ demand for higher quality. Sony’s King says accessories can further enhance a home theatre setup and retailers should keep in mind that when consumers are looking to purchase equipment, suitable accessories such as cables should be available at shop front. Wall mounts and AV furniture continue to be in high demand from those looking for TV-based home entertainment systems, according to Techlink’s Allen, and wireless technologies have done very little to diminish the requirement for cables such as HDMI and optical digital in the home entertainment market. “Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are additional technologies, not replacement ones in the HE sector,” he comments.
When it comes to selling home entertainment systems and components, Turnstone AV’s Attfield says demonstration is still key, as is simplicity when pulling together complicated solutions. “That is why AV specialists are thriving,” he comments. Armour’s Reichert agrees: “The three most important things are demonstration, demonstration and demonstration! Unless you can actually show the differences between a soundbar and a full 5.1 system, you’re never going to persuade a customer to spend more. It’s important to listen to their requirements – what’s their room size? Which family members are going to be controlling/watching/listening to the system? What sources/content do they want to enjoy? Their approximate budget matters, of course, but you’ll be astonished how flexible this can become if you can demonstrate the genuine benefits of an increased spend.” LG says there are a number of elements that retailers must consider when helping customers plan new home theatres. “Retailers should enquire about the room where the home theatre will be situated. With this in mind, they can also ask where the sofa is located – this information will allow retailers to determine the size of the TV suitable for the room. Retailers should also ask the types of TV programmes the consumer likes to watch.” Keeping on top of the latest technological developments, having the right products and accessories in-store, and being able to demonstrate their benefits, results in a sure-fire recipe for success in the home entertainment market.
GEORGE COLE GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
BETTER BLUETOOTH IN
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY – VHS... AND DVD T
the home entertainment world, Bluetooth has often played second fiddle to Wi-Fi when it comes to wireless technologies. But in recent years, Bluetooth has come on in leaps and bounds, with improved audio and better performance. Many speakers, wearable devices and headphones now include Bluetooth. As we go to press, news comes of wo of the biggest home entertainment formats have a new and improved Bluetooth standard, Bluetooth 5, which promises significant anniversaries this year – it’s 40 years since the faster data speeds and longer operating distances – the improvements VHS video format appeared, and twenty years to speed and distance are rumoured to be around 2-4 times better than since the first DVD players arrived. Note that the existing Bluetooth standard, but we’ll know the true figures when these anniversaries refer to the first time Bluetooth 5 is officially launched. they appeared in public, and on both It seems that existing Bluetooth hardware will not be able to occasions, that was in Japan – VHS “Forty years take advantage of Bluetooth 5, as new chipsets are required, reached the UK in 1978, and DVD ago was another and these probably won’t appear in new products until around in 1997. JVC demonstrated VHS in world: no flat screen September 1976 and the first VCRs 2017. The good news for retailers is that many consumers went on sale in Japanese stores at will want to upgrade their existing Bluetooth products TVs, no internet, no the end of the following month. and purchase new hardware. The bad news is that some CD players, no MP3 Forty years ago was another consumers may well put back their Bluetooth purchases until music, no streaming world: no flat screen TVs, no the first Bluetooth 5 products reach the stores.
NOT IN FRONT OF THE TV E
very now and again, the press reports of some “hazard” in using a Smart TV. The latest is the suggestion that hackers can take over a Smart TV’s webcam and use it to film viewers as they watch their TV. One (unverified) report claims that hackers recorded a couple making love in front of their Smart TV and then posted the video online. Whether such reports are true or not, they can create a lot of negative attitude towards Smart TVs. So, what can retailers do? The key thing is education. Virtually every networked product we buy – from PCs to smartphones to routers – comes with a default password. The problem is that many of us never bother changing this password, and so if a hacker knows what product you are using, they can try and gain access to it via the default password. Retailers can help Smart
TV customers protect themselves by advising them to change the default password and showing them how to change it. Better still: manufacturers could include a warning message which advises customers to change the password during the setup process.
internet, no CD players, no MP3 music, no streaming media and home PCs that came in kits. It was also a time when one company – in this case JVC – could dominate a whole market with its own format. We needn’t go into great detail as to why VHS won the format war with Sony’s Betamax, but suffice it to say that several smart moves by JVC (licensing players and tapes to loads of companies; cornering the rental market, and grabbing the lion’s share of the pre-recorded market) saw VHS become the video format. But it wasn’t just about marketing. JVC constantly developed, with hi-fi audio, Super VHS picture quality, and camcorder formats like VHS-C. There was even a Data VHS (D-VHS) format launched in Japan for high-definition recording. All-told, around 900 million VHS decks were sold worldwide, and billions of blank and prerecorded tapes. JVC stopped producing dedicated VHS decks in 2007, but you can still find combo products with VHS decks and DVD or Blu-ray disc drives. VHS had seen off many potential rivals, including disc formats like Laserdisc, CD-Video and Video CD, but it couldn’t stop the DVD juggernaut. Now of course, DVD faces competition from another disc format (Blu-ray Disc) and streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon. I suspect there will still be many VHS decks in homes when it celebrates its 50th anniversary, and when DVD reaches thirty. Although how many VHS decks and DVD players will still be used for playing home videos is another story... JULY 2016 GET CONNECTED
FROM THE BENCH
LCD SCREEN VARIANTS THERE ARE NOW SEVERAL TYPES OF LCD DISPLAY SCREEN IN USE. IF YOU SELL OR RENT THEM IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THEIR DIFFERENCES AND PROS & CONS, SAYS ALAN BENNETT
kinds of LED backlight: the simpler and usually less expensive one is edge-lighting, in which LED emitters are positioned around an optical diffuser sheet whose face becomes brightly illuminated. This can make for a very slim panel, but cheaper models using edge LEDs may suffer from uneven lighting of the picture, slightly darker or brighter, always in the same places on screen. The alternative – and generally better – LED backlight system is the full-field one, in which the light sources are forward facing and arranged in rows and columns, Top-range LCD TV
he first technology for thin TV screens was plasma discharge, producing a good picture but with penalties in the realms of power consumption and screen burn. It went out of production last year, overtaken by the LCD type, which has undergone much research and development and is embodied in the vast majority of TVs (and computer monitors) currently on sale. In direct-view types its only competitor at present is the OLED type, with an excellent black-level performance, but a correspondingly high price. OLED cannot achieve the peak brightness level of LCD however. One drawback of LCD screens is their shortcoming in terms of black level: the light cannot be totally cut off in black areas of the picture so that they are reproduced as a low level of grey. This is due to light leakage around and through the LCD cells; this problem cannot as yet be overcome. There has been much improvement in recent years and in top-range models however, especially those with full-field backlighting, as we shall see. LCD screens come in a very wide range of sizes, prices and performance levels…
vertically polarised. On emergence from the LCD another filter is encountered, this time horizontally polarised so that only twisted light can penetrate it. Thus, the light output at that point on the screen depends on the applied voltage. The light comes from a (hopefully!) perfectly even bright-glowing backlight, and each LCD cell is topped off by a tiny colour filter of red, green or blue or – sometimes – yellow. Three cells, one of each colour, make up a single pixel picture element. On a UHD screen there are 8.3 million pixels and almost 25 million colour dots.
Originally the backlight was derived from fluorescent tubes and a diffuser, power-hungry and relatively unreliable. They have now been superseded by LED lights, more efficient, more reliable and with better performance. There are two
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though there are not nearly as many LEDs as LCD cells. This requires a slightly thicker panel, but can have more even illumination and is amenable to local dimming, whereby the intensity of the backlight is selectively reduced in dark areas of the picture, to the benefit of blacklevel performance.
One drawback of standard LED backlights is that they do not provide ‘pure’ white light; it’s biased towards the blue end of the spectrum and contains unwanted colours which have to be cut out by the colour filter dots in front of the LCD cells. With this handicap the picture is somewhat impaired in terms of brightness and colour rendering. The Quantum Dot screen (the most expensive type of LCD/LED display technology) overcomes this by means of what might be called a ‘light purifying’ sheet in front of the backlight. It contains minute crystals which, stimulated by the backlight, fluoresce of themselves, emitting very pure light, rich in the TV primary colours and free of spurious and unwanted hues. The colour-dot filters can now be more efficient, providing a brighter picture with better spectral purity. A more vivid and true to life picture results from this. Leaders in QD technology include Samsung (SUHD range), LG and Sony, the latter having marketed them under their Triluminous banner. Philips and Sharp are also active in the QD field. Quantum Dot is a key ingredient in the HDR (High Dynamic Range) sphere, where it surpasses OLED in terms of brightness, but cannot match it in the black-level stakes. This has led the UHD Alliance (a consortium of TV manufacturers and others) to set two different standards for screen performance: greater than 1000 nits (a measure of peak brightness) for white and less than 0.05 nits black level for LCD/LED/QD types; and 540 nits/0.0005 nits for OLED panels. I must admit that I prefer the second, viewed if necessary in subdued ambient light, to the eyeball-searing high-powered LCD/LED-based alternative, even at its premium price.
An LCD screen consists of millions of liquid crystal cells, each capable of twisting the polarisation of light passing through it by up to 90°, depending on applied voltage. Incoming light goes through a polarising filter so that it is all, say,
“Quantum Dot is a key ingredient in the HDR (High Dynamic Range) sphere, where it surpasses OLED in terms of brightness, but cannot match it in the blacklevel stakes.”
The cost of QD screens is likely to come down more quickly than that of OLED ones. In the showroom the key points are to ascertain your customer’s expected and potential spend, the type of programme content generally viewed and how passionate he or she is regarding picture quality. There is a screen type for every taste, need and budget!
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Published on Jul 8, 2016
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