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It’s official: improvements in the energy efficiency of kitchen appliances have helped significantly in the reduction of total domestic energy consumption in the UK
GC looks at the big developments in TV and what is likely to drive sales in the coming year
The excellent customer service Linsar delivers is something I
haven’t experienced for a long time - other companies should watch and learn
Progress in the world of UHD TV and putting the “vinyl revival” into context
SPOTLIGHT ON… Air treatment brand Meaco
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De Dietrich Core and Premium ranges are now available ex-stock and come with a free 3 year parts and labour warranty* * On all Dietrich domestic appliances registered within 30 days of purchase in the UK.
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Spotlight on Meaco A company whose award-winning products offer retailers prime opportunities in a rapidly growing sector
TV in 2016 The rise of Ultra High Definition TV
George Cole Gets Connected GC’s consumer guru looks at UHD TV standards and the increase in vinyl’s popularity
From the Bench Alan Bennett explains how High Dynamic Range can greatly improve the perceived quality of TV pictures
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AT THE BEGINNING OF 2015 WE SAID THAT THE YEAR WOULD BE REMEMBERED AS A PIVOTAL PERIOD IN THE PROCESS OF PROFOUND CHANGE THAT IS TRANSFORMING THE UK ELECTRICAL RETAIL SECTOR – AND THE WIDER RETAIL LANDSCAPE.
erhaps not a very risky prediction under the circumstances. But it is worth recording some of the indicators that marked the pace and extent of change in 2015 and into the early part of 2016. Black Friday 2015 showed a massive shift in emphasis as bricks-and-mortar outlets – some of them apparently participating in this US import more out of fear than real enthusiasm – lost ground to the upsurge in online bargain hunters. The idea of Black Friday as a one-day High Street event turned into a week or more of online discount offers, delivering a wake-up call for many on the High Street, as shoppers declined to go outside and instead did most of their shopping online. For John Lewis – always held up as a model of retail excellence – the continuing shift in consumer buying habits came not as a surprise but as an endorsement of its investment plans. MD Andy Street now predicts that online sales will overtake in-store sales by 2019, a year earlier than his original forecast, and he has announced a £500 million investment in online services and infrastructure. “We have increased our investment in IT six-fold over the last six years,” he said, “and the number of people involved has increased three times. This is a story about how retail has changed given how the customer is now shopping.” Not everyone can afford a half-billion investment in online
selling, but no-one in retail can afford to ignore the trend. Doing nothing is not an option. Meanwhile, independent electrical retail lost more outlets as small independent businesses went broke, sold up or simply decided to shut up shop. These losses happened despite the benefits of an electrical retail landscape that now has only one multiple competitor – which has itself announced the closure of 134 stores as the merging of the remaining PC World and Currys outlets, and the installation of in-store Carphone Warehouse areas, heralds the roll-out of the 3-in1 store concept. A brighter side to independent electrical retail is the growth in success of the bigger, multiple-outlet regional independents. The bricks-and-mortar trend seems to be away from smaller “convenience” stores and towards “destination” stores. Is this because “convenience” is now synonymous with the Internet? Finally, in the “convenience” v “destination” battle, a warning trend from the US. Bloomberg reports that Wal-Mart, having moved into many small communities across the country and put local independents out of business, is now closing some of its smaller stores and leaving those communities without any bricks-and-mortar shopping options at all. As Joni Mitchell says: “Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you’ve got Till it’s gone.”
“A brighter side to independent electrical retail is the growth in success of the bigger, multipleoutlet regional independents.”
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Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief
Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director
Will Dobson Creative Director
James McIntosh Consumer Consultant
George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant
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THE VERY LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
DIXONS CARPHONE TO CLOSE 134 STORES
ixons Carphone has announced it is to close 134 stores as it launches a major programme to roll out its 3-in-1 store concept, which will involve merging the remaining PC World and Currys outlets and installing in-store Carphone Warehouse areas. The company said the move would not affect staff numbers.
The changes are expected to result in a further £20 million annual profit from FY 2017/18. The closures were announced as the Group reported like-for-like revenues up 5% for the 10 weeks ended 9th January 2016, with record Black Friday and market share gains in all markets. Like-for-like sales in the UK & Ireland rose 5%.
UK ONLINE SPENDING RISES 11% IN 2015 New figures suggest that UK online retailers took £114bn throughout 2015, a year-on-year rise of 11%. The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index estimates that some 27% of retail sales now take place online and a further 11% growth is forecast for 2016, during which ecommerce sales are predicted to rise to £126bn. The report also shows that all growth in 2015 was driven by the rise of mobile: m-commerce
grew by 42%, and 45% of sales were made via a mobile device in the third quarter of the year. Electricals sales were up 3% year-on-year, according to IMRG.
Visit www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news... Four in five shoppers purchase on strength of
UK leads the world for hi-tech TV viewing, says Ofcom EDM calls for action against counterfeit electricals New figures highlight slowdown in household
Flawed vacuum cleaner testing should be re-examined,
says Sebo UK MD
2016 brings new look and success for one of our
industry’s best PR firms
Consumer Technology Association pays tribute to
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GE SELLS APPLIANCES BUSINESS TO CHINA’S HAIER
has signed an agreement to sell its Appliances business to Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd for $5.4 billion. The transaction values GE Appliances at 10 times the last 12 months’ EBITA, a gain of around $0.20 per share at closing. GE said it expects to offset the gain with restructuring in 2016. As part of the transaction, GE has entered into a long-term agreement with Haier to continue use of the GE Appliances brand. Louisville in the US will remain the headquarters for GE Appliances. The transaction has been approved by the board of directors of GE and Haier, and remains subject to customary closing conditions, including Haier shareholder approval and regulatory approvals. It is targeted to close mid 2016. The move came little more than a month after the $3.3 billion deal to sell the business to Electrolux was abandoned due to it being opposed by the US Department of Justice.
BOSCH ESTABLISHES NEW SUBSIDIARY FOR SMART HOME ACTIVITIES
osch is to strengthen its place in solutions for the smart home under a new subsidiary that will bring together the company’s smart home activities including related software and sensor system expertise. The newly founded Robert Bosch Smart Home GmbH will offer products and services for connected homes from a single source. Customers have been able to order the first Bosch smart home products online from January 2016.
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AMICA ACQUIRES CDA GROUP P
olish white goods manufacturer Amica has acquired 100% of the shares in Nottinghamshire-based MDA brand CDA for £24.3 million. It is the largest acquisition in Amica’s 70-year history and significantly strengthens the Polish brand’s position in Western Europe. The transaction will complete in 2017. This is the second tactical acquisition for Amica in the same year. In August 2015 the Polish manufacturer purchased shares in French distributor Sideme. The outright purchase of the CDA Group forms part of a strategy which aims to generate revenues of €1.2 billion and EBITDA of €107 million by 2023. “This transaction guarantees us four times higher sales in the UK and Ireland and a 10% increase in revenues of the Amica Group, excluding
future synergies,” said Jacek Rutkowski, President of the Board of Amica Wronki S.A. Amica Wronki S.A. is the largest Polish manufacturer of household appliances and one of the leading companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. In 2014, its revenues exceeded £390 million. Amica’s sales in the UK and Ireland increased over the first three quarters of 2015 by 20% on a year-to-year basis. In 2014, turnover in the British market reached £13 million, doubling the revenue from 2013. CDA is a profitable trading company which posted £43 million in revenue for 2014/15. It has its own distribution centre and transport fleet, a customer service centre and a team of technicians located throughout Great Britain. The business employs in the region of 200 staff.
Commenting on the acquisition, CDA Managing Director Ian Kershaw said: “In every conceivable way this deal is exactly what CDA needs to take the next step in our journey. We are very fortunate to have the considerable resources of one of the fastest growing appliance companies in the world behind us. All of our staff and trade partners can only look forward to even greater times ahead.” Simon Freear, country manager for Amica UK and Ireland, said there are exciting opportunities with each of the brands. “By keeping each autonomous, with its own products, innovations and separate distribution channels, both businesses will benefit immeasurably,” he commented. “Key management are to remain with both Amica and CDA and this is important from the point of view of building CDA’s value in the Amica Group and keeping the distinct identities of the brands.”
WHIRLPOOL MOVES TO BLOCK DUMPING BY SAMSUNG AND LG
hirlpool Corporation had filed an antidumping petition with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission outlining a long-term repeated pattern of pricing below cost by Samsung and LG, which it says is injuring American washer manufacturers and threatening American manufacturing jobs. In 2013, the US government found that Samsung and LG were unlawfully dumping large residential clothes washers exported to the United States from their production facilities in South Korea and Mexico. Whirlpool said that the two Korean companies skirted the order by moving their washer production for the United States to China. "Simply put, beginning in 2013, Samsung and LG replaced their dumped washers from Korea and Mexico with dumped washers from China," said Marc Bitzer, president and chief operating officer for Whirlpool Corporation. "Since then, Samsung and LG have blatantly ignored a previous US government order by continuing to dump washers into the United States.” Whirlpool’s petition seeks enforcement of United States and international trade laws. “Enforcing trade rules will level the playing field for the US appliance manufacturers,” the company said in a statement.
IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES REVIEWING OPTIONS FOR DIGITAL RADIO BUSINESS PURE I
magination Technologies has responded to press reports that its digital radio arm Pure could be sold, stating that it is “reviewing its strategic options for the business.” The news follows what Chief Executive Hossein Yassaie described as a “disappointing” half-year at the time of reporting the Group’s results on 15th December. A statement released by the Group said: “As stated at the time of the half-year result in December 2015, the Group recognises the challenges it is facing given the current economic backdrop of the industry in which it operates. The Group is already and actively controlling the investments that it is making to minimise Opex growth. Imagination continues to monitor the industry situation and will take further actions as and when necessary. “Pure’s prime focus is now the growing digital radio market and its financial performance is improving rapidly. The Group is reviewing its strategic options for this business.”
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MONTPELLIER BRAND TO “SPLIT AWAY” FROM DAD
omestic Appliance Distributors has announced that the Montpellier brand is to be split away from DAD to become a standalone entity. Tewkesbury-based DAD introduced the brand to the UK market in 2012, and GC understands that in August 2014 it was officially established as Montpellier Domestic Appliances Limited within the Gloucestershire-based Gillman group of companies. DAD Managing Director Adrian Gillman said: “Interest in the Montpellier brand from a consortium has led to the brand leaving the DAD portfolio.” DAD will continue to distribute the brand, which comprises a comprehensive range of freestanding, integrated and built-in appliances. Gillman added: “We have been negotiating this
opportunity for some time. Knowing it was on the cards, we have strengthened the senior management team.” Gary Millar joined DAD as Head of Marketing for the Montpellier brand in November 2015 and in February 2016 a Brands Sales Director will join the DAD team. In related news, ‘Montpellier UK Ltd’ announced it has become an approved supplier to mixed merchant buying group Fortis. Fortis has 38 member companies across the UK (approx 290 branches) with combined annual revenues of c.£1.0 billion. Millar said this was “an exciting time” for Montpellier, which will be revealing many new initiatives in 2016 including additions to its product portfolio supported by a new website and marketing collateral.
SIRIUS BUYING GROUP CREATES OFFSHOOT FOR KITCHEN SPECIALISTS
he SIRIUS Buying Group has announced it is extending its activities to benefit independent kitchen specialists and studios. The business said that arrangements and terms are in place with leading kitchen appliance and furniture brands. The buying group currently has a network of 240 retail outlets throughout the UK with a trade purchasing power in excess of £100 million.
STATESMAN APPLIANCES IMPLEMENTS UK WARRANTY SOLUTIONS
Warranty has partnered with Statesman Appliances to provide 3- and 5-year extended warranties across the Ipswich-based company’s range of white goods. The long-term deal gives customers the option to purchase an extended warranty either online or by phone whilst registering their appliance for the standard 2-year warranty. Managing Director of UK Warranty Neil Martin (pictured) said: “Statesman Appliances is a forward-thinking manufacturer who wants to provide unrivalled experience and service for retailers and their customers. We believe our warranty solutions offer this.”
HOTPOINT, INDESIT, CREDA RECALL FAULTY TUMBLE DRYERS
Cutting the ribbon to officially open the new branch is longstanding TED customer Simon Garrett-Tuffney, assisted by TED general manager Paul Chisnall. Also shown (left to right) are Simon Quinlan, manager of TED Commercial; Adam Smith-Reeve, branch team leader; Mark Whiteacre, senior commercial advisor.
TRADE ELECTRICALS DIRECT OPENS ROCHESTER BRANCH
rade Electricals Direct (TED) has continued its planned expansion programme with the opening of a new branch in Rochester, Kent, which aims to better the service for the company’s growing number of customers in London and the South East. £150,000 has been invested in the new 2,500 sq ft facility on the Medway City estate. TED was launched by Hughes Electrical in 2010. It now has almost 50 employees, an annual turnover of £15m and operates from 14 locations across the country.
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hirlpool Appliances has introduced a corrective campaign to remedy possible safety and quality issues focused on two types of dryers sold under the brand names Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda between April 2004 and October 2015. An outreach and service campaign is underway to modify products that have already been sold and Indesit has implemented modifications at the point of manufacture to ensure that dryers produced after October 2015 are not affected by the problem.
Whirlpool said consumers may continue to use the affected dryers until they are modified through the outreach and service campaign, provided they are not left unattended during operation. If left unmodified, in some rare cases, excess fluff can come into contact with the heating element and present a risk of fire. For further information: http://safety.hotpoint.eu http://safety.indesit.eu or contact 0800 151 0905.
LONDONERS URGED TO REGISTER APPLIANCES AS NEW FIRE FIGURES RELEASED
ondon Fire Brigade has advised Londoners to register their appliances after new figures revealed that faulty electrical goods cause a fire almost every day in the capital. The figures show that white goods account for over 300 fires each year. In 89% of these incidents, the cause was a fault in the appliance or its electrical supply. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are over 100 million large appliances in use in UK homes and they are kept for an extensive length of time.
But a consumer survey by Populus, on behalf of Electrical Safety First, found that only 47% of consumers registered the last product they bought. London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Neil Orbell urged Londoners to register their new buys straight away and not to forget older appliances they may have in their kitchens. He said: "To help protect their homes and families, everyone should put registering electrical appliances at the top of their to-do list.”
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JOHN LEWIS SIGNS EXCLUSIVITY DEAL FOR GORENJE BY STARCK SHARP INTRODUCES ITS FIRST COOKING COLLECTION TO UK MARKET
harp Home Appliances has launched its first cooking collection, comprising ovens with capacities up to 78 litres, induction (See The Product Gallery in this issue) and vitroceramic hobs in a range of finishes including a minimalist-style frameless design with bevelled diamond-cut edges, and touch-control cooker hoods with digital timers that count down the cooking process. UK Sales and Marketing Director Andy Warren said the new cooking range offers “just the right support for every cook and every home, delivering professional-style gadgetry for culinary wizards as well as on-tap mealtime rescues for cooks in trouble.” He added that Sharp has stayed true to its ‘For Life’ promise, backing the products with 24/7 customer service by phone, chat and Twitter for round-the-clock help and advice.
orenje has announced that its new Gorenje by Starck collection of appliances has been made available exclusively through John Lewis. The reflective glass and stainless steel finished collection, which was developed in partnership with internationally acclaimed designer Philippe Starck and comprises ovens, microwaves, hobs, hoods, refrigerators and warming drawers, was introduced at IFA in Berlin last year. Vic Sinclair, Buyer of Large Electricals at John Lewis, said: “The design line is truly aspirational and advanced in its offering and we are certain it will be very popular with our customers.”
MIELE NAMED STANDOUT PERFORMER IN WHICH? BEST APPLIANCE BRANDS SURVEY
iele has been confirmed as the ‘Best Brand Overall’ in seven out of the nine categories in which it is featured in the Which? Best Appliance Brands survey. The German brand was recognised in built-in ovens, cylinder vacuum cleaners, upright vacuum cleaners, washing machines, tumble dryers, washer dryers and dishwashers. Simon Grantham, managing director for Miele GB, said: “We are thrilled to retain this accolade. It is recognition of Miele's total commitment to offering customers products and service that embody our ethos of ‘Immer Besser’ – Forever Better."
NEW LG SIGNATURE BRAND UNVEILED
Electronics has unveiled the LG SIGNATURE collection, which brings together the company’s best technology and best designs under a single handle. The initial offerings in the LG SIGNATURE collection include a 4K HDR-enabled OLED TV, an advanced TWIN Wash™ washing machine, a “cutting-edge” Doorin-Door™ refrigerator, futuristic hybrid air purifier, a featurerich double-oven range and TurboSteam™ dishwasher. LG said the range will include more products as the brand expands.
“Our driving principle is to ensure that the essence of our products is preserved from idea generation through to the enduser experience,” said Brian Na, executive vice president and LG’s global marketing officer. “LG SIGNATURE is the embodiment of everything that is important to LG and we hope to convey that philosophy to customers who appreciate great products from strong brands.” LG SIGNATURE will begin rolling out in key target markets in North America, Europe and Asia this year.
GDHA BACKS UK CRAFTSMANSHIP
len Dimplex Home Appliances, founder of the Made in Britain campaign, has donated to an apprenticeship scheme that offers an entry route into the craft sector for those with little or no experience. The scheme was founded by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, part of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, and supports UK craftsmen and women of all ages to help them further their careers. This year, GDHA’s donation will help support 31 year-old Sophie Michael from London to complete a three-year apprenticeship with the Kino Club in London, in the specialist area of Analogue Film Conservation.
JAN/FEB 2016 GET CONNECTED
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CEDIA ANNOUNCES 2016 TECH FORUM DATES CEDIA has released the schedule for its 2016 Tech Forums, which bring together industry professionals for training and education sessions and core industry networking.
• • • • •
Bristol - 20th April London - 17th May Edinburgh - 22nd June Manchester - 28th September Dublin - 19th October *New venue*
www.cedia.co.uk/cedia-event for further information
Jennifer Elworthy AB Distributors, a member of the KAL/ Gowan Group and distributor of De Dietrich and NordMende appliances, has appointed Stuart Garmston to the role of Regional Sales Manager – South West & South Wales. Stuart Garmston
Whirlpool UK Appliances has promoted Christian Smith to National Account Controller, responsible for online retailer ao.com. Smith joined the company almost seven years ago and has held various sales roles within the business. Christian Smith
Hoover has appointed Garry Smith to the role of laundry product manager to assist with the company’s plans for growth. Smith has spent his 27-year career working as a buyer at a leading retail partner.
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eridian has introduced a free-of-charge Design and Specification service to save time and costs for its dealers working on whole home, super yacht or cinema room projects. Barry Sheldrick, Director of Sales at Meridian, said the service is all about adding value for customers. “It will help installers achieve the exceptional performance expected from a Meridian system. The Design and Specification service will also make it easier and quicker for dealers to select and specify the best products for those applications, freeing up valuable time so they can concentrate on other aspects of an installation.”
Freesat has promoted Jennifer Elworthy to Stephen Hoare the role of director of marketing and communications. She succeeds Paul Gilshan, who leaves the company after three years.
LG TO COLLABORATE ON NETFLIX’S GLOBAL BUSINESS EXPANSION
Otone Audio has appointed Stephen Hoare as its new managing director. He succeeds Gareth Thomas, who is leaving the business after more than four years to pursue a new career path.
MERIDIAN LAUNCHES CI DESIGN AND SPECIFICATION SERVICE
www.meridian-audio.com/design-service for further information.
Moves Jonas Samuelson, previously head of Electrolux Major Appliances Europe, Middle East and Africa, succeeds Keith McLoughlin as President and CEO of the Electrolux Group.
has announced a global partnership with Netflix to facilitate the expansion of the media service’s global on-demand internet streaming operations beyond the internet TV network’s already established markets. The expansion will bring an extensive library of high-quality content including 4K HDR-mastered original TV series to more markets in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
FREEVIEW PLAY TO LAUNCH ON LG WEBOS 3.0 SMART TVS
reeview Play-enabled LG Smart TVs will launch in the first half of 2016, combining LG’s webOS platform and catch up services with a backwards EPG. Freeview Play currently offers catch-up TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, on-demand services and live
television, with more services due in 2016. Combined with LG’s renowned webOS service and other content partnerships, including NOW TV, Netflix, Amazon and Google Play, LG said it will provide an “unrivalled” selection of services for consumers to enjoy in the UK.
APPLE WATCH CLAIMS OVER 50% OF 2015 SMARTWATCH MARKET
ew data from Juniper Research shows that the Apple Watch claimed 52% of global smartwatch shipments in 2015, despite only launching at the end of April. Its popularity far outshone that of rival vendors, with Android Wear shipments comprising less than 10% of sales for the year. According to the research, Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear S2 has not achieved strong sales volumes since it launched in November despite being well received. Most other smartwatch sales are currently coming from cheaper, simpler devices from a range of smaller players.
The research demonstrates how the continued lack of strong use for smartwatches means that, Apple Watch aside, the market thus far has been driven by lower priced devices with more basic functionality. Juniper argues that while many smartwatch vendors have produced ranges of watches, allowing for customisation and price segmentation, there have been no great leaps forward that have “revolutionised” the category. “The smartwatch is now a category waiting for a market,” remarked research author James Moar.
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK
Company Dixons Carphone
to a loss of £4.5m (2014: £7.3m profit).
Apple posted record quarterly
reported first-half like-for-like Group
For the three months to December 2015,
revenue of $75.9 billion and record
revenues up 5% with market share gains
AO World reported sales growth across
quarterly net income of $18.4 billion,
across the UK & Ireland, the Nordics,
all categories and said its long-term
but warned that sales of its iPhone are
Greece and Spain. In the UK & Ireland
strategy remains on track. ao.com
set to fall. The fiscal first-quarter 2016
sales grew 7% to £101 million, with 31%
revenue increased 35% year on year and
results compare to revenue of $74.6
earnings growth. Group profit before tax
overall UK revenue by 24%.
billion and net income of $18 billion in
increased to £121 million, against £98 million in the first half last year. A Group Headline profit range of £440 million to
Argos and Homebase owner
Home Retail Group said
£450 million is expected for the full year.
benchmark profit before tax for the
AO World plc announced a
be around the bottom of the current
revenue increase of 21.7% to £264.3m for the six months ended 30 September 2015, against £217.1m in the same period last year. AO website sales in the UK rose 23.7% to £214.8m, up from £173.7m. Total UK revenue grew 14.5% to £248.6m. A Group operating loss of £8.9m (2014: £0.9m profit) reflected
financial year ending February 2016 will range of market expectations of £92m to £118m due to disappointing sales at Argos. In a trading statement for the 18 weeks from 30 August 2015 to 2 January 2016, like-for-like sales at Argos fell 2.2% to £1,837m, with total sales up 0.9% for the period.
the same quarter last year. Gross margin was 40.1% compared to 39.9% in Q1 2015. In its guidance for the next quarter the company said it expects revenue between $50 billion and $53 billion and gross margin between 39% and 39.5%.
Electrolux reported a fourthquarter loss of SEK 393 million (c.£32.2 million) against a profit of SEK 970 million in Q4 2014 after its proposed acquisition of GE’s appliance business fell through. Sales increased 1.3% to SEK 31,794 million. The company said
the ongoing investment in German
LG Electronics posted a loss
operations and start-up costs in other
of KRW 141 billion (c.£82 million) for
grow in all markets in Western Europe
European territories. UK adjusted
the fourth quarter of 2015, but operating
and was particularly strong in the
EBITDA was £5.1m (2014: £7.3m),
profit increased to KRW 349 billion,
Nordics, Spain and the UK. Electrolux
with margin decreasing to 2.0% due to
against KRW 275 billion in Q4 2014. The
expects the Western European market to
investment in marketing and overheads.
company cited corporate income tax and
grow by 2%-3% in 2016.
In Europe, an adjusted EBITDA loss of
a loss of KRW 43.8 billion in its mobile
£9.6m (2014: £nil) represented trading
division for the Q4 loss. Total sales for
losses in European territories from
the quarter amounted to KRW 14.56
launch, bringing Group adjusted EBITDA
demand for appliances continued to
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SALES OF FITNESS BANDS AND SMARTWATCHES UP 118% IN 2015
esearch from market intelligence agency Mintel has revealed that over 3 million wearable wrist devices such as fitness bands and smartwatches are estimated to have been sold in the UK in 2015, up 118% from 2014, during which sales reached 1.4 million. Fitness bands were the most popular wearable devices, outstripping sales of smartwatches by almost two to one. In 2015, 63% of wrist devices sold were fitness bands. The figures do, however, highlight the increasing popularity of smartwatches. In 2014 smartwatches accounted for just 9% of sales, while fitness bands accounted for 91%. Around 14% of Britons own a wearable device. 7% of these own a fitness band and 3% a smartwatch, according to the research.
LG LOUNGE GETS NEW FEATURES IN PLATFORM REFRESH
has refreshed its digital product training platform, the LG Lounge, with new features intended to make it more userfriendly and training more engaging. The Lounge supplements LG’s face-to-face training programmes to ensure that store staff have easy access to the latest product developments across the brand’s Home Entertainment, Home Appliance and Mobile Communication divisions.
SHORTCUTS Beko has introduced a promotion on all models in its dishwasher range. The incentive allows purchasers to claim three months’ worth of free Finish tablets and runs until 14th March. Grundig has invested in perimeter board advertising at two highprofile RBS Six Nations games at Murrayfield in Scotland. Animated LED boards carrying the campaign strapline ‘The Champion of Home Appliances’ will be positioned on the touchline and balcony to deliver optimum exposure both at the ground and on TV.
Electrolux has been ranked Industry Leader Household Durables in the RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook for the fifth consecutive year. The company also received the Gold Class award, which goes to firms with the highest scores in each industry.
Humax has announced that Netflix will become available on its Freesat with Freetime set-top boxes HDR1000S 500GB, HDR-1010S 1TB, HB-1000S and the more recently launched HDR-1100S.
LG has received the the Compasso d’Oro International Award in the Design Food Preparation and Instruments category for the design of its Dual Door-in-Door™ refrigerator.
Britannia Living has teamed up with pastry chef and founder of The Cocoa Box Lisa Marley to develop a series of seasonal recipes during 2016. Britannia will release a video each month throughout the year via its Facebook and Twitter channels.
Whirlpool has been awarded Consumer Superbrands status for 2016 in recognition of its investment in innovative technology.
Industry body AMDEA’s Technical Manager Stuart MacConnacher has been awarded the BSI’s International Standards Maker Award for outstanding contribution, in particular to work on safety standards.
LG Electronics has been named one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World by Corporate Knights for the third consecutive year. It also received the Gold Class distinction in RobecoSAM’s 2016 Sustainability Yearbook.
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Sky has topped the tables for overall customer service satisfaction across TV, broadband and Talk services in the latest Ofcom customer service report. Whirlpool’s ADP 900 IX 6th Sense PowerDry dishwasher has been awarded Best Dishwasher of the Year 2015 by TrustedReviews.
80% OF NEW CARS NOW HAVE DIGITAL RADIO FITTED AS STANDARD
ata from industry analysts CAP and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for Q4 2105 shows that the number of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard grew to 80.1%, compared to 61.2% in Q4 2015 – the second biggest quarterly increase since monitoring began in 2010 – and a further 7% of all new cars had digital radio available as an option. In total, 1.9 million cars were sold with DAB as standard in 2015, accounting for 71% of the year’s record annual total sales of 2.6 million. Sales of commercial vehicles with DAB as standard also saw record growth, increasing to 40% in December 2015, up from 28.3% in December 2014.
CEDIA ESTABLISHES EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP WITH CITY & GUILDS
EDIA has announced that its education programme has been recognised by City & Guilds, a development which means that those who successfully complete either a Smart Home Technician or a Smart Home Designer course will receive a joint certification from CEDIA and City & Guilds and become accredited within this area. Students will be awarded the certificate upon successful completion of all of the relevant courses from January 1st 2016. CEDIA said the new partnership will broaden access to the best training courses available within the custom install industry by increasing awareness of the CI profession and attracting new entrants into the market. www.cediaeducation.com
THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK
BLOMBERG TAKES THE HIGH ROAD… INSINKERATOR® OPENS NEW SHOWROOM AT WATFORD HQ
nSinkErator® has moved to new offices with a showroom and demonstration area for its steaming hot water taps and food waste disposers, providing retailers with the opportunity to experience demonstrations and product specific events.
STOVES NAMES WINNERS OF COMMUNITY KITCHENS CAMPAIGN
he first beneficiaries of a £20,000 community projects campaign created by GDHA brand Stoves have been announced by the manufacturer. The first prize of £5,000 worth of cooking appliances went to the Dorothy Goodman School in Leicestershire, which caters for pupils with learning disabilities between the ages of three and 19. St George’s Crypt in Leeds won £3,000 worth of appliances to update its kitchen facilities in three locations, and One Church Brighton, which works with people on the margins of society, received £2,000 worth of appliances.
eko brand Blomberg has announced that its 2015 training roadshow reached a total of 389 Euronics agents after it added a further leg to the tour to take it to Scotland. The team hosted five sessions in Inverurie, two in Larkhall, Kilmarnock, and Dumfries and trained 69 staff in the regions. “We work with a number of key retailers in Scotland and it was absolutely essential to extend our initial six week programme to visit them too,” said Head of Training at Beko plc Kay Ainsworth. Frank Craig of Frank B. Craig’s, in Lanarkshire, whose team attended one of the sessions, said: “A mega thanks from all the guys at Frank B. Craig’s. We all thought the
training was expertly done and entertaining, and we’re much wiser for the evening. I’m sure this will help us support the Blomberg brand. They know how to run a great night.”
HISENSE SIGNS AS 10TH GLOBAL PARTNER FOR UEFA EURO 2016™ CE
and MDA manufacturer Hisense Group has filled the last position to become a Global Partner of the UEFA European Championship 2016, the first-ever sponsorship deal
with a Chinese company in the championship’s 56-year history. Hisense will also sponsor other UEFA organised national team football competitions until the end of 2017, including
the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Futsal EURO™ 2016, the UEFA European Under-21 Championship™ 2017, and the UEFA Women's EURO™ 2017.
HUGHES OPENS BIGGER STORE IN BURY ST. EDMUNDS
SMEG STAFF GO FROM AVERAGE2AWESOME…
taff at Smeg UK embarked upon a tough fitness regime led by a Team GB coach with a thousand marathons under his belt, and collectively lost 77kg in weight – approximately the same weight as a FAB30 fridge. Performance coach Rory Coleman’s Average2Awesome challenge gave the team of 11 eight weeks to get into shape through a strict diet that included quitting carbohydrates, alcohol and sugar, a series of gym sessions, office Olympics and covering a minimum of 12,500 steps a day. The team covered six million steps in total (around 3,000 miles) and completed a final challenge to visit as many Circle Line London Underground stations on foot as possible in two-and-half hours.
ughes Electrical has opened a new store in Bury St. Edmunds, offering a greater range of products and improved levels of comfort and service for customers. Hughes has operated in the town since 1981. The new store is more than twice the size of the company’s previous outlet and has 12 members of staff. The £200,000 investment follows the takeover of Store manager Andy Yallop with Hughes corner premises previously occupied by Mothercare. Electrical MD Robert Hughes (right) The Hughes Electrical Group is now one of East Anglia's largest companies with annual sales of £110m and over 900 employees. It trades via high street stores, the internet and trade centres.
DYNAUDIO ANNOUNCES NEW RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
anish loudspeaker manufacturer Dynaudio is to build a three-storey, 17,200 sq ft R&D centre in
Skanderborg, Denmark. The new centre will include some of the most advanced measuring facilities in
Europe and will be built next to Dynaudio’s headquarters. It is expected to open in December this year.
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THE PRODUCT GALLERY
WHIRLPOOL LAUNCHES SMART SUPREME CARE LAUNDRY APPLIANCES Whirlpool is launching its Supreme Care laundry range with 6th Sense LIVE®app for iOS and Android. It will be available on matching front loading washing machines and tumble dryers and keeps users in contact with their appliances via smartphone or tablet. It acts as an enhanced interface, allowing users to customise programmes and check energy usage with Whirlpool’s ECOMONITOR facility. j
CANDY 10KG TUMBLE DRYER Candy has launched the Grand’O Vita GVCD101WB-80 10kg condenser dryer, its largest capacity tumble dryer to date. The appliance has four Sensor Dry programmes including a Delicate Wool cycle and Rapid 40-minute option.
LOEWE CONNECT 32 HDTV Loewe’s Connect 32 HDTV is designed to ensure there is no need to compromise on quality when buying a TV of a more compact screen size. The 32” unit has an optional DR+ hard drive to record, store content and share with other Loewe TVs and an 80W integrated sound system. j
V-ZUG BUILT-IN VACUUM DRAWER V-ZUG has completed its steam cooking offering with the launch of its first built-in vacuum drawer. The appliance has three vacuum sealing levels for fruit, fish & vegetables, meat & frozen food and is available with a mirror glass or chrome fascia. j
0843 289 5759 | www.vzug.com
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THE PRODUCT GALLERY
OTONE NEXT-GEN PORTABLE MULTI-ROOM SPEAKERS Otone Audio’s BluWall Direct portable multi-room speaker system connects multiple devices wirelessly using built-in Wi-Fi Direct technology, which supports up to eight connected devices that can pair within 50 metres of each other. Users can control the speakers using the Otone app for iOS and Android. j
0161 924 2269 | www.otoneaudio.com
SHARP 60CM AND 90CM INDUCTION HOBS Sharp‘s 60cm and 90cm slider touch-control induction hobs provide InductionBoost functions for each zone, offering concentrated boosts of power up to 2500W on the 60cm model and up to 3500W on the 90cm model. The 60cm CookBridge hob (KH6I19BS00 pictured) links two zones together to provide extra room for larger pots. j
BLEND AND GO… AEG’s Sport Mini Mixer comes with two BPA-free, 0.6L Tritan® dishwasher-safe sports bottles and offers 300 Watts of blending power. It has four high-quality stainless steel blades and is robust enough to handle ice. The bottles are cold & heat resistant (-40°C to 80°C). j
03445 611 611
ENTERTAINMENT ON THE GO WITH SKY Q Sky’s next-generation home entertainment system is said to open up a whole new way of watching TV. It incorporates a family of Sky Q products that connect wirelessly to create a new ecosystem that lets users watch different programmes on up to five screens simultaneously while also recording four other channels. j
AUDIO RESEARCH’S LATEST INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER Audio Research has added the GSi75 integrated amplifier for analogue and digital sources to its G-Series of valve amplifiers. The unit incorporates a high-res DAC for digital sources and a phono stage for vinyl records – the onboard DAC is said to be the company’s “best ever” and is compatible with DSD and sampling rates up to 384kHz. j
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THE GREEN ROOM: GO GREEN IN 2016
GO GREEN IN 2016 IMPROVED EFFICIENCIES
“UNSTABLE ENERGY COSTS STILL PROPEL THE NEED TO AT LEAST CONSIDER THE LONG-TERM SAVINGS OF ECO-APPLIANCES”
he arrival of 2016 brought yet more pressure to bear on the UK’s energy companies as industry regulator Ofgem accused the firms of overcharging by failing to cut prices in line with falling wholesale costs. Wholesale gas prices finished 2015 at six-year lows, according to market intelligence firm ICIS, and electricity prices at five-year lows. Gas prices fell 34% over the year as a whole, while electricity fell by 23%. At the time of writing, it has just been announced that E.On has reduced its standard gas price for residential
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customers by 5.1%, which is the equivalent of £32 off the average annual bill, but price comparison site Uswitch said consumers should be seeing price cuts of at least 10% on both gas and electricity. Yet contrary to Ofgem’s claim, and to public opinion, the energy suppliers insist that consumer bills are down by hundreds of pounds. Ofgem’s latest call marks another chapter in the chronicle of events for the sector, which is currently under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.
But energy consumption in the UK is falling, and energy-efficient appliances have made no mean contribution to this. A report published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change in 2015 showed that energy consumption per unit of household disposable income fell by 34% since 2000, whilst consumption per household fell 27% and per person by 26%. So the figures are certainly moving in the right direction. Improvements in energy efficiency have helped to reduce total domestic energy consumption in the UK both through improvements to the energy efficiency of domestic appliances and that of buildings through insulation and energy-efficient heating systems. The result is a tribute to manufacturers’ innovations. Energy efficiency for new cold appliances improved most for chest freezers, which consumed 69% less electricity in 2014 than in 1990. Over the
THE GREEN ROOM: GO GREEN IN 2016
“In terms of delivering savings in relation to eco-resources, the dishwasher can be regarded as a major contributor” Owain Harrison UK head of sales and marketing Built-in, Hoover Candy Baumatic
same period, energy consumption for new upright freezers fell by 65% and for new refrigerators by 61%. In wet appliances, efficiency improvements have been greatest in new dishwashers, which demonstrated a 40% improvement, while washing machines recorded a 32% change for the better.
V-ZUG: “High quality products are made to last and perform at their best…”
For some consumers, certain appliance categories stand out more than others on the eco-scale, generally because their environmental benefits are more tangible. Caple sales director Danny Lay cites dishwashers and washing machines as an example of such products, stating that consumers can easily understand how using less water per wash can benefit the environment and how quicker and lower temperature cycles are more energy efficient. Lay believes that developing shorter washes which achieve the same results in dishwashing and laundry products will continue as a trend, as will the development of half loads and the lowering of water consumption: “Appliances with short washes are practical and energy efficient, and will leave the user safe in the knowledge that their crockery will be gleaming and their clothes clean.” Jennifer Spragg, Senior Brand Manager for Whirlpool, comments that the dishwasher has developed enormously over the past decade or so and now contributes considerably to the reduction of resources in the home. “Washing up by hand may seem to be convenient, but a Whirlpool dishwasher enables users to wash over 170 items using just 6 litres of water, the amount of water that Whirlpool’s most waterefficient dishwasher will use for a full load, compared to the 40 to 104 litres used to hand wash the same amount of dishes.”
become more aware of the savings appliances can offer both on water and electricity bills. She highlights a Beko premium model that saves around 7,500 litres of water per year: “Equivalent to 95 bath tubs.” One of the fastest growing energy-saving categories is laundry and, according to Lisa Keogh, Product Manager for Fabric Care at Electrolux UK, this can be attributed to more companies introducing heat-pump technology. “The main benefit of heatpump technology is that it enables drying at much lower temperatures than standard condenser dryers. Consumers today are savvy when it comes to picking energyefficient appliances and understand that a more expensive and energy-efficient model will come with long-term savings. “There are many features available on modern laundry appliances that bring ease and comfort to consumers’ lives. For example, machines with electronic sensors have changed the way we wash for good. No longer do consumers need to wait for a full laundry basket to build up before they can wash items with the environment in mind. Electronic sensors weigh the size of the load and allocate the optimum amount of time, water and energy needed to thoroughly wash it, so the appliance does all the thinking for you.” Whirlpool’s Spragg draws on a recent Energy Saving Trust study indicating that people are often motivated to invest in eco-appliances when they are benefited financially for doing so. “The survey showed
that 40% of consumers were most attracted to buying energy-efficient products if they saved them money, and it was evident that they also wanted specific product-related information about the economic benefits of an individual appliance, rather than general brand messages about lessening the impact on the environment. “To identify products that will best benefit them, consumers should be guided to the EU energy labelling as well as manufacturers’ statements and guarantees that quantify savings. It is still the upfront cost of a new appliance that is the main deterrent for those consumers not wanting to trade up, but unstable energy costs still propel the need to at least consider the long-term savings of eco-appliances, and these are far more tangible when communicated through real-life examples.”
“As an industry we need to make the energy and money savings more understandable at a glance,” says Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director of Hoover Candy UK’s Freestanding Division. “Energy labels are obviously a good start to this, but if we could make it easier to understand how an appliance’s energy rating will affect energy bills it would help to make this clearer for the consumer. However, because consumers use appliances in different ways, and because there are so many variables in terms of the types of electric tariffs, it is difficult to provide an absolute energy-saving breakdown.
AMICA 9KG/6KG WASHER DRYER With the wettest winter on record, there’s no better time to stock a solid range of washer dryers. Amica’s wash 9kg and dry 6kg freestanding washer dryer scores an A for energy efficiency and an A again for wash performance. Like all Amica products it is supplied with a comprehensive two-year parts and labour guarantee. 21 quiet wash programmes are complemented with an audible programme-end alert, auto sensor and a choice of drying settings including cupboard dry and iron dry.
AWARENESS IS BUILDING
Alexandra Boon, Senior Marketing Manager at Beko plc, comments on washer dryers’ reputation for energy-inefficiency, but she believes that perceptions of this product category are slowly changing as consumers JAN/FEB 2016 GET CONNECTED
THE GREEN ROOM: GO GREEN IN 2016
“Encourage consumers to take advantage of start delay buttons, available on many modern appliances” Owain Harrison Category Director, Freestanding, Indesit
“The Energy Saving Trust website is a really good place to start, however, as it includes indicative costs of just how much could be saved by selecting eco-friendly appliances. For instance, the consumer can see roughly how much investing in an A+++ rated appliance would save them as opposed to an A+ rated model.” Sian Bailey, laundry and dishwasher category manager at Miele, remarks that it would be “great” if the EU could help to educate the public on energy labels and what each section means. She suggests that highlighting, for example, the difference between A+ and A++ would be beneficial.
Siemens iDos iQ700 A+++ rated 9kg washing machine WM14Y892GB
But it is not simply about education on the energy label, consumers need to understand the eco-programmes available on appliances too. Hotpoint Brand Communications Director Ian Moverley believes some are still confused as to why an eco-cycle typically takes longer to complete than a standard cycle. “It is essential to explain that although the programme is longer, it uses less energy and therefore saves money, whilst still achieving the same great results.” “Retailers should start by explaining the basic energy ratings and water usage, but it’s also important for customers to understand that there is a breadth of factors that can make a product ecofriendly,” adds Rhys Evans, Sales Director UK & Ireland, V-ZUG UK. “Although the energy rating is a big indicator, there are also other factors to consider, such as does the appliance have lower water usage, does it have clever sensors to alter which programme is used,
STOVES EXPANDS FREESTANDING INDUCTION British cooking brand Stoves has launched two new freestanding cookers with touch-control induction hotplates as part of an expansion of its induction offering. Available in Black, White or Stainless Steel, the Stoves SE60MFTi is a 60cm AA-rated electric multifunction double oven, which combines a stylish aesthetic with plenty of cooking capacity. A large main electric oven with 9 functions and programmable timer is complemented by the smaller top oven and internal grill and four-zone induction hob. Offering the same generous capacity and features, the more contemporary Stoves Sterling 600MFTi is perfect for those looking to make a modern style-statement with its professional looking Stainless Steel finish. All of the appliances are Made in Britain.
For further information please visit: www.stoves.co.uk 0844 248 4149
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or does it have a greater capacity which will consequently make it possible to reduce the total number of washes.” The internal layout of dishwashers is another area of development which is making these appliances more efficient, according to Evans. “Flexible storage can allow the dishwasher to adapt to holding a greater number of items to be washed in one cycle, thus making it more efficient both in terms of time and energy use. “Any discussion of eco-friendly features and ratings should also include a wider explanation that highlights the differences between brands. High-quality products are made to last and perform at their best, but this is not typical at the lower end of the market. The lifetime of the appliance itself should be considered as much as the ratings it offers.”
Eco-friendly appliances are not limited to the wet category, as Beko’s Alexandra Boon points out: “Technology within the cooking sector is changing the way appliances consume energy.” She highlights Beko’s new Split & Cook oven, which can save up to 40% energy due to its internal divider. This creates two separate oven cavities that can be programmed to individual temperatures. “You can have an energy efficient product on paper, which will have been tested against a set of criteria and conditions, but apart from refrigeration, which is in constant use, efficiency can also be affected by how a product is used,” comments Michael Haigh, Marketing Manager at Britannia Living UK. “For instance, if a family has a number of members who eat at different times and operate the oven several times a day, this is inefficient use. But if this is the living style, it’s important to have a very efficient oven to compensate.” The Energy Saving Trust offers a reminder that microwave appliances often provide a much more energy-efficient way of cooking than in a traditional oven, because microwaves target energy direct to the food, whereas electric ovens must also heat the air inside the cavity. Hob cooking, whether on gas or electric, also uses less energy than oven cooking, particularly if the appliance is induction. Sharp Electronics’ Rita Balestrazzi says induction is the “new byword” for efficiency, its speed and efficiency helping to drive sales. Awareness of induction is growing amongst the public, so it was rather a surprise to see that some of the national consumer press have been, until quite recently, unaware of the technology. In July 2015, the Mail Online carried an article headlined “Who knew frying an egg could blow your mind! Video reveals the strange
THE GREEN ROOM: GO GREEN IN 2016
electromagnetic power of an induction hob”. Needless to say, the piece was prompted by the discovery of induction on YouTube, and the reporter seemed to be oblivious of the technology prior to the video’s finding. Thankfully, consumers appear to be more up to date than the national press as, according to Martin Wilson, Product Manager for Built-in Hot appliances at Electrolux: “More and more are realising the energy-saving benefits of induction, especially in comparison to gas hobs. With induction cooking, 90% of the heat travels directly to the pan, which is notably higher and far less wasteful than a ceramic hob that only conserves 75% of energy or a gas hob that retains 55%. An AEG induction hob will boil a litre of water quicker than any other heat source, making it the most efficient way to cook on a hob, saving the user both time and money.”
One of the most obvious contributors to energy use in the kitchen is 24/7 operational cooling, which the figures at
Whirlpool’s ADG 2020 with PowerDry option claims “the number one dishwasher in cleaning and drying in just one hour”
the beginning of this feature show has significantly improved in energy efficiency across the sector. Sharp’s Balestrazzi is of the opinion that this market has become “highly prized” for its green technology and the latest refrigeration is now perceived as a smart lifestyle choice – “an opportunity to live a more chore-free and leisurely life.” She suggests that the advent of Frost Free and No Frost technologies transformed day-to-day life in the kitchen, making frequent manual defrosting a task of the past and helping to better preserve the taste and texture of food. Balestrazzi adds that features such as Holiday Modes have provided a break from 24/7 operation, enabling families to cut back on running costs without having to sacrifice essential cooling ability. “And, most importantly,” she says, “fridge freezers have increasingly grown in capacity, making them evermore fit for the new trend of grocery shopping in bulk.” Fridges and freezers that are understocked cost more to run, so it is important that retailers determine customers’ food storage habits before making recommendations on the size of appliance required. Otherwise, any potential gain from energy savings could be lost. According to the Energy Saving Trust, choosing an A+++ fridge freezer over an A+ unit will typically save consumers around £190 in energy bills over the lifetime of the product. However, as the energy rating is based upon classification by size, a smaller A-rated fridge could use less energy than a larger A+ rated model.
Vacuum cleaners are a different, and more controversial, sector when it comes to categorising efficiencies. The energy label for these products is, like other appliance sectors, designed to help consumers understand each model’s energy efficiency and performance, but some industry commentators contend that the testing criteria for products is flawed, in that how
EFBE RANGE EXPANDS efbe-schott’s 2016 UltraLightweight vac line-up includes the 2.3kg rechargeable upright and handheld SV 5R StickVac Pro 3000, with 3000 rpm brush bar spin and Ni-Mh charging; the 80g SW 5R SweepEasy rechargeable carpet sweeper with wipe-while-you-sweep microfibre cloth pad and handy hang-up handle; and the 1.7 kg upright and handheld SV 3R Light & Easy Duo with 600W of Grade A power. efbe-schott is also focusing on the SteamEasy in 2016. This 4-bar Steam Cleaner with grip-mounted variable steam adjuster comes with a host of accessories to clean floors, carpets and windows, and is supplied in a tough carry case for easy carrying and storage.
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they perform in lab tests is not indicative of their performance under real-life conditions. In November 2015 the EU court dismissed attempts by Dyson to annul the EU regulation relating to energy-efficiency labelling for vacuum cleaners. Sebo UK Managing Director Justin Binks has also spoken out on the EU labelling requirements for floorcare products. In the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, he said: “It is worth noting that vacuum cleaner manufacturers self-test and self-validate so it is all too easy for results to be fudged and skewed to present products in an advantageous light.” Binks said he believes the tests are unrepresentative of real-world cleaning scenarios so magnify the confusion in the market place. “Quite simply, the whole process is somewhat unbelievable and pointless,” he commented. “In particular, the tests for pickup are flawed as they do not represent the realworld situations found either in homes or commercial premises.” Jamie Carboni, floorcare category manager at Miele, says it would be beneficial if more could be done to help demonstrate how the suction power of floorcare appliances doesn’t always relate to pickup, and how the use of clever floorhead technology and hose design can be just as effective. According to the European Commission, EU eco-design rules have made vacuum cleaners 63% more efficient and will cut household energy bills by €3 billion a year by 2020. Miele’s Carboni says that, within this time, vacuum cleaners will become smaller and lighter with less main motor power, but will provide the same if not better cleaning results. “All brands are working on this to be ahead of the legislation change in 2017, where 900W will be the maximum with an A-rating of approximately 230W. “All vacuums will also have to pick up a minimum of 75% of dust on carpets and 98% on hard floors.”
SPOTLIGHT ON: MEACO
CHRIS MICHAEL, CO-FOUNDER OF MEACO, HAS SPENT HIS ENTIRE WORKING LIFE IN AIR TREATMENT AND HUMIDITY CONTROL, AND HIS UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE IS MATCHED BY HIS ENTHUSIASM FOR THE BENEFITS OF DOMESTIC AIR TREATMENT PRODUCTS. BECAUSE MEACO CONCENTRATES TOTALLY ON AIR TREATMENT PRODUCTS, THE BRAND HAS BEEN ABLE TO DEVELOP A RANGE OF MARKET LEADING HIGH QUALITY, MULTI-AWARD WINNING MODELS
CREATING THE RIGHT ATMOSPHERE M
eaco was founded in 1991 as a specialist in monitoring and control equipment for museums and art galleries, and established itself as one of the most important humidity control experts in Europe. In 1999 Mitsubishi Electric approached Meaco to become sole distributor of its range of portable dehumidifiers in the UK – a relationship that continues to this day.
RECOGNISING THE POTENTIAL
In 2005, recognising the growth potential, Meaco sold the museum business to focus on the rapidly expanding domestic dehumidifier market, and by 2009 had become a manufacturer, “using the experience gained in museums and listening to customers to ensure that every dehumidifier not only solves a problem but will also improve the user’s quality of life.” The company now exports to 17 countries across Europe and into South Africa, and is recognised as a major international player. Chris is convinced that, here in the UK, the time is right for retailers to present dehumidifiers as a lifeimproving product that has benefits far beyond the solution of problems such as damp, condensation and mould.
The Meaco 20L on test
“In this country,” he says, “dehumidifiers are often just associated with problems. But they are just as useful in larger homes, in garages, on boats and in conservatories as they are in the small and well sealed UK homes that suffer from damp climates. The right dehumidifier can reduce heating bills, dry clothes indoors and ease the symptoms of asthma, allergies and arthritis. Dehumidifier purchases will continue to grow as quality of life Superior energy consumption from Meaco
expectations rise. Unlike most of the white goods categories in the UK, the market is nowhere near mature. A good retailer – one who understands the benefits of dehumidifiers, has trained staff and is willing to promote the products from their current position as a showroom afterthought – could sell thousands of pieces a year and drive footfall to the store.” Meaco has a reputation for helping educate consumers in a clear, comprehensive way, and for supporting retailers. “I enjoy sales training,” says Chris. “I visit retailers’ premises, and also hold courses at our HQ. Training is vitally important, and we have seen it pay dividends for retailers prepared to take the opportunities.”
Do the statistics bear out the upbeat market projections for dehumidifiers? Chris says “we have doubled our sales each year for the last six or seven years, and that is with no sale prices and no special offers. This is not a discount-driven market. For example, our premium Platinum range, which we introduced in 2014, expresses the Meaco brand conviction that each new product should be an advance, pushing the boundaries and setting new standards of quality, performance and energy efficiency. Some retailers used to price-driven strategies did not get it at first and saw the price points as a problem. But the Platinum range is now our best-seller, proving that the right retailers can, with the right approach, make premium products the most popular.”
Meaco’s Award-Winning 20L model
Meaco is now looking for retail partners who will work with the brand to develop the market and share in the growth potential. Dehumidifiers are now in the position that dishwashers occupied some years ago. Widely accepted and seen as a “must have” domestic appliance in other European markets, the UK has been slower to understand the benefits. Meaco is poised, with an array of award-winning best-in-class products, to help the UK take the step into rapid growth and greater market penetration. The products are here. The support in terms of training and consumer education is already in place. There is ample consumer reassurance in the shape of highly favourable consumer reviews. And Meaco offers retailers the added reassurance that the brand “outsells all other products on the market.”
For more information visit: www.meaco.com
Get Connected will be revisiting the air treatment market in future issues to focus on more details of what the products can do and what consumers need to know when looking at air treatment.
JAN/FEB 2016 GET CONNECTED
Pictured: Panasonic’s 65-inch DX900
NO PRIZES FOR GUESSING WHAT WILL BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS YEAR’S TELEVISION MARKET: THE RISE OF ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION (UHD), OR 4K TVS, WHICH OFFER FOUR TIMES THE RESOLUTION OF 1080P HDTV SETS. GEORGE COLE REPORTS
he research consultancy group Futuresource says that global shipments of UHD sets will reach 14% in 2016 (up from 5% in 2014), and Amit Rullay, marketing manager at TP Vision UK, believes 4K UHD TVs are likely to become the standard in 2016, driven by wider public knowledge of the highresolution format and the increasing availability of native 4K content. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video have improved their 4K offerings and both services are going to be available on Philips 4K UHD TVs in 2016, according to Rullay, and the unveiling of several UHD Blu-ray players recently at CES 2016 has also boosted interest in high-resolution screens, he says. Sony’s new XD93 series of 4K sets include HDR compatibility 22
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for improved colour, brightness and contrast, and Sony says this makes them ideal for viewing new HDR-enabled content from online providers like Netflix and Amazon Video. Many see the arrival of new content helping to drive UHD TV sales. David Parry, senior sales manager for Hisense UK, notes that in 2015 broadcasters’ 4K offerings were delayed by a lack of 4K content and the modification of broadcast platforms, but he expects adoption to drastically increase in 2016 as content and 4K sets become more readily available. “Broadcasters and platform providers are now providing more content to complement the technologies available,” adds Craig Cunningham,
head of vision - TV & Video, Panasonic UK. “For example, Sky has recently announced its new Q box which will be UHD-compatible.” Dawn Stockell, LG head of brand marketing, says TV brands and content providers have always worked hand-in-hand when it comes to ensuring that TV, movies and sports can be experienced to their full potential, “so today we can enjoy 4K content delivered by a host of providers including Netflix, Amazon and BT.” She adds that LG’s main focus in 2016 will be expanding its 4K OLED offerings and delivering more
“The increase in contrast may become more significant than the increase in resolution”
choice, both in terms of content and screens. “As a premium technology, OLED 4K TV will be available in large screen formats from 55- to 77-inch, and in both curved and flat options. OLED TVs also feature HDR. LG has introduced a range of Super UHD 4K TVs, mid to premium range of LCD LED backlit TVs.” Panasonic has just announced the first LED TV in the world that meets the standards of the UHD Alliance’s new Ultra HD Premium specification (see George Cole’s column on page 25). Craig Cunningham says the unit (DX900) combines the brightness offered by LCD with the contrast and black level response of Panasonic’s plasma TVs. The DX900 will launch in spring this year in 65-inch and 58inch versions.
Last year, SES Astra launched a UHD demonstration channel at 28.2°E for viewers in the UK and Ireland. The channel offers a variety of UHD content in 3840 x 2160 resolution, including city and landscape scenes from Vancouver. “We want to enable UK and Irish retailers, installers and enthusiasts
“Content is now catching up with the TV hardware”
content consumption is changing and while this may mean that more Sunday morning telly is watched in bed on an iPad, we still believe that most homes have a place for a large screen experience.”
Sony XD85 4K HDR with Android TV
to understand the technology that makes UHD possible, and what it will mean for their viewing experience. We encourage our trade partners to show our Ultra HD demo channel at their points of sale for demonstration purposes,” says Thomas Wrede, vice president, reception systems, SES ASTRA. He adds that UHD not only offers sharper images and more colours, but Ultra-HD pictures will also be much brighter, with more detail in black tones, and brightness levels that will “astonish” the television viewer. “The increase in contrast may become more significant than the increase in resolution,” he comments. “Only satellite can reach audiences in the millions of viewers and it provides the highest data speeds. Satellite broadcasters are now bringing together the standards, equipment and content needed for broadcasting UHD services into the home at a much larger scale than what internet delivery can provide.”
Graham North, commercial director at Humax notes that many consumers will be upgrading their TV sets via a set-top box, either to improve picture quality or access online or on-demand services like BBC iPlayer. “In 2015,” he says, “consumers shifted their focus from standard definition set-top boxes to take advantage of more competitively priced, high definition set-top boxes that now include integrated internet connectivity. Moving into 2016, this demand will grow and we will see manufacturers react by expanding their connected TV ranges to offer even more variety and choice to consumers.” 24
GET CONNECTED JAN/FEB 2016
“In the last few years, there has been considerable emphasis on providing access to online apps and on-demand services directly from the TV. But, of course, many TVs are also connected to devices like Sky or Virgin Media boxes and games consoles that provide similar access,” says Charlie Cann, Marketing Manager for Loewe UK. “With new-generation online content devices like Apple TV, Sky Q and Amazon Fire, online TV functionality is reaching new heights; more and more people are using these devices to deliver content to their TVs, rather than their TV’s own more limited online interfaces. It makes sense from a cost point of view too: these devices are less costly to buy than a high-quality TV set, and easier to upgrade given that media streaming technology seems to be moving much faster than the upgrade cycle of the TV set itself – it makes sense to update the content device, rather than the TV.” Philips’ Rullay says smart TV services and interaction with the TV will continue to play a big part with this year’s sets and the brand will continue to support the Android operating system. “Android provides access to an extensive range of popular apps and games via the Google Play store and offers seamless integration with smartphones and tablets.” Sony’s latest Bravia sets also support Android and Matt Laird, Sony TV marketing manager, says: “Sony was the first TV manufacturer to integrate YouView into its Bravia. YouView provides a seamless combination of live and catch up TV.” Loewe’s 4K UHD Reference and Connect ranges also offer connectivity to multiple devices.
The Connect series offers streaming content to tablets, and the Reference series includes 75- and 85-inch sets that offer Bluetooth streaming, DLNA connectivity and both smartphone and tablet apps. There’s also a builtin 1TB drive and the sets also offer media server functionality.
HOME AND AWAY
Panasonic’s Craig Cunningham notes that the amount of viewing on smart devices has increased, but consumers generally watch TV on their smart devices when they’re out and about; at home they’re still using the main TV for premium content. “4K content is an important feature and Panasonic’s Viera TVs include a Netflix 4K app,” he comments. Philips’ Rullay agrees: “Despite the increasing use of smartphones and tablets for entertainment, this is mainly reserved for on-the-move gaming and TV viewing, with the TV set remaining the entertainment hub of the home.” Humax’s North says that over the last year, the time spent watching media on a smartphone has almost doubled, with 30% of consumers using a connected device to watch television. As such, TV device manufacturers will focus on this growth in the coming year to keep hold of this changing market. “Humax continues to offer Home Networking options across its set-top box range; however, we will also focus on more paid TV options such as the recent inclusion of Netflix in a number of Humax products, allowing users to avoid switching between devices to enjoy a variety of different content.” Hisense’s Parry also believes that the living room TV will continue to rule at home: “How we approach
“The launch of Freeview Play last year was a big development for UK television,” says Panasonic’s Cunningham: “Combining catch-up TV and on-demand services within the TV guide, alongside live television, makes watching what you want, when you want, easier than ever. Content is now catching up with the TV hardware, which is great news for consumers.” LG’s Stockell notes a greater demand for video-on-demand and catch-up TV and she says that, for 2016, LG has extended its coverage of catch-up TV services by adding Freeview Play on its Smart WebOS 3.0 platform. “LG supports free and pay-TV content including NOW TV, where you can watch Premier League Football without the need for a separate set top box.” “Last year both Freesat and Freeview responded to the new consumer expectation for integrated connectivity and worked with Humax to produce set-top boxes that satisfies this demand,” comments Humax’s North. “This has allowed subscription-free TV services to offer a wealth of new apps and catchup services. For Freeview, this has provided an opportunity to launch a connected television service and product to the consumer market with the Humax Freeview FVP-4000T.”
Philips’s Rullay reminds us that television is about picture and sound: “Sound will also be a focus area. The new Philips 8601 series has an 18-speaker, 50W wireless sound system. The drivers are mounted in two polished dark chrome bars – only 17mm wide – that run the length of the set but can also be detached and mounted on optional stands.” Loewe’s Cann points out that, rather than focusing on producing the thinnest possible screen, Loewe instead integrates useful technologies like built-in soundbars with up to 120W onboard amplification, “ensuring the sound is every bit as engaging as the picture.” There will certainly be plenty to tempt this year’s TV buyer.
GEORGE COLE GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
A BOOST FOR UHD TV? Y
ou’ve probably seen the news that Freeview plans to switch to promoting High Definition-only products by the end of next year. From 1 January 2016, all TVs over 32-inches will have to offer HD in order to get a Freeview licence and use the Freeview logo. It would be harsh to say that the TV, broadcasting and entertainment industries had been making up the Ultra High Definition TV standard on the hoof, but it’s pretty clear that the introduction of UHD (aka 4K) TVs has been a pretty fluid affair. We’ve had UHD TV sets with different HDMI connectors, different codecs and different audio systems. Pity the poor consumer thinking of buying a UHD set and the poor retailer trying to sell one. Some manufacturers have tried to keep their options open by offering software updates, but not every element is easy to upgrade: many early UHD TVs, for example, were saddled with HDMI sockets that are now not fit for purpose. So, it’s good news for consumers, retailers and the industry that the UHD Alliance (which includes Sony, Samsung, Panasonic
“Pity the poor consumer thinking of buying a UHD set and the poor retailer trying to sell one...”
and LG) has settled on a new standard and logo for UHD sets. The UHD Premium logo will tell consumers that their UHD set conforms to a set of specs that include a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160, support for 10-bit colour depth, High Dynamic Range, a wide colour gamut and specific brightness and black levels. The specification also refers to a display reproduction of “more than 90% of P3 colours.” This refers to the DCI-P3 colour space, a spec set by SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), an industry association which sets standards for motion images. The DCI-P3 colour space was introduced in 2007 for digital movie theatres, and has a wider colour gamut than SRGB, a previous standard which was launched in 1996 by HP and Microsoft for displays, printers and the internet. All digital cinema projectors can display the entire P3 colour space, but few monitors can. This new standard takes UHD Premium sets closer to professional monitor standards. Like the digital tick logo for digital TV sets, the HD Ready logo for HDTV and the kitemark for digital radios, the new UHD Premium logo should help bring greater clarity and confidence to the UK TV market, and that has got to be a good thing.
have to say that the so-called vinyl revival has left me feeling a little bemused. Don’t get me wrong, I have many fond memories of LPs and still have hundreds of them. But I can’t remember the last time I played a vinyl album, even though I have a rather nice record deck in my living room. Last year, UK sales of vinyl records soared by 64% to 2.1 million units; in 2007, the figure was 205,000. Albums are now being re-released on vinyl on a regular basis, and people STOP THE WORLD... are snapping them up, even The question is: how long will though some LPs can cost this new UHD Premium standard twice the price of a CD version. last? Technology is moving so Panasonic has re-launched its quickly now. VHS was launched in famous SL-1200 record deck, and Sony 1976, but DVD didn’t arrive until 1996. has introduced a new turntable, Blu-ray was launched in 2003, and now, the PS-HX500. Vinyl is booming, 13 years later, we have UHD Blu-ray. we are told. But we need We saw 405-line TV introduced in the UK a sense of perspective in 1936, 625-line TV arrive in 1964 and HDTV here. Despite being in was launched just ten years ago. The consumer decline, CD electronics world is not as bad as the mobile phone world, where new models and new specs seem to be launched every 12 months, but it’s getting closer to it.
sales reached almost 54 million units in 2015, with digital album sales around 26 million and streaming music up 82% to 27 billion tracks. Vinyl is a minnow in the world of music. And even Sony is bridging the gap between the old and the new, because the PS-HX500 also includes an integrated 24-bit analogue-to-digital converter, which enables vinyl owners to convert their albums into high quality digital audio files that can be played on a PC or a portable digital music player. Not so long ago, we had a massive house clearance, but there were many albums I just couldn’t throw out. I suspect the vast majority of vinyl buyers are either audiophiles, collectors or nostalgia-freaks like me.
JAN/FEB 2016 GET CONNECTED
FROM THE BENCH
– HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE TV
YOU’VE READ HERE ABOUT QUANTUM DOT, AND EVERYWHERE ABOUT UHD TV. HOW ABOUT HDR? ALAN BENNETT EXPLAINS
Colour gamut: the colours in the bright triangle are attainable with a TV screen. The purer the primary colours the larger the triangle and the greater the colour range
good picture, one that – unlike UHD TV – does not demand a very large screen to be effective. While existing systems can give ‘quasi’ HDR, its full scope can only be realised by improvements and tweaks throughout the chain – image capture, transmission, recording and display. The TV needs several enhancements: the screen’s brightness capability must be High Dynamic Range, ramped up to provide two or three times can greatly improve the more than at present, going from 100perceived quality of TV pictures. 400 nits to about 1000 nits, and the Existing TV images are limited spectral purity must be greater, “The result is in terms of their brightness as in Quantum Dot and OLED range and colour gamut. panels, as illustrated in the a closer approach The brightness (luminance) triangle diagram above. The to the capabilities of signal is sampled in 8 or 10 peak brightness requirement bits, providing respectively needs be handled with care the human eye and to the 256 and 1024 steps; HDR because very high levels light and colour in the expands this to 12 bits and can be uncomfortable and real world, especially 4096 levels, while the colour distracting to the viewer, range is also increased, along depending on the ambient outdoors.” with a wider spectrum. These will light level. eliminate a shortcoming of current CONTENDERS AND SYSTEMS TV pictures, the ‘stepping’ effect visible The BBC has requested that HDR is in areas of gradual tonal change, a bit like provided for in the DVB-T specification, a contour map. though as yet no official standards have ENHANCEMENT been set for broadcast HDR. When they The result is a closer approach to the are established they will probably combine capabilities of the human eye and to the the best and most practical features light and colour in the real world, especially of the Dolby, Philips and Technicolor outdoors. Bright white clouds, for instance, systems currently being evaluated by retain detail rather than get washed out; the UHD Alliance. Dolby Vision, as well as firework displays come over in real colour developing silicon and specifications, has rather than being burnt out to white. HDR produced a prototype screen capable of pictures with inky blacks and dazzling 4000-nit brightness, more than ten times whites have more ‘punch’, body and greater than most current screens. HDR luminosity – easier demonstrated than TV calls for a new generation of video described. processing systems (‘engines’), along with Imagine you are in a church with larger and faster memory chips, embodied a brilliant stained-glass window. A in the set or an external box. conventional stills or TV camera closes HARDWARE down its iris, showing the window well but The new UHD Blu-ray players will be plunging the interior into featureless black. capable of handling HDR, while some If you correct that by manually opening the existing top-flight TV sets are HDRiris, the window light crushes down to a flat compliant. Even so, all of these, existing white blur. Combining the two images (an and new, will need at least a firmware effect already available in top-end stills update to fully accommodate the and smartphone cameras) can give a very
GET CONNECTED JAN/FEB 2016
broadcast standards when they are established and implemented, as with UHD television, with which HDR goes hand in hand. HDR adds relatively little (say 20%) to the UHD bit-rate/bandwidth requirements, rather more to that of HD. An HDMI coupling is required to v2.0 or higher specification so that much existing gear, working to v1.4 standard, is not compatible with HDR. Amongst recent and new TVs, LG’s model LF55/66EF9500 is fitted out for HDR, while previous curved OLED models are adaptable – for web streaming but not HDMI operation – by a firmware update. The Samsung 8 and 9 series is HDR compliant, along with some Panasonic sets, given a new firmware programme, likewise Sony TVs in types 65S8505C and X93C/ X94C. Some recent Sony TV products can also be HDR-enabled by a network update. This list is not exhaustive and will have changed by the time you read this: consult the manufacturer concerned for the latest details of updates for existing sets and look at the specification/feature list of new ones. Some industry commentators feel that UHD/4K TV was brought to market too soon, while still awaiting a broadcast specification. This seems to have led to confusion and inhibition amongst potential buyers. Perhaps the same is true of HDR? Even though firmware upgrading can achieve a lot there is much to be said for having a full and complete framework in place before presenting new system to the public.
At present, and at least until UHD Blu-ray comes along, the only way to get HDR pictures is via the internet. This medium, working on a one-to-one basis, lends itself better to HDR than broadcast and cable platforms. Amazon offers an HDR facility, accessed with a Prime subscription and a good (20-25 Mbps) broadband link, and of course suitable equipment at home. Netflix is expected to start an HDR service in 2016, being inclined to wait until more progress has been made in the realm of official standards, and believing that HDR is at least as important as UHD to the viewer for the present.
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Published on Feb 5, 2016
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