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Editorial Comment

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The Word

In and around the industry / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

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The Product Gallery

George Cole Get Connected

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From the Bench

Alan Bennett says projectors create a great home cinema experience / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /


Industry comment and a 2-minute interview from Vogel’s James Attfield


15 - 26


featuring: 16 19 20 22 24 25

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Small Appliances

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Sony: Focus on Portable CE

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DAB Radio

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2 year parts and labour warranty on all Beko Built-in Appliances T. 0845 850 5008 E.

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21/07/2011 18:12


Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief




began with hope that we could make a good start on building the post-recession recovery, but has not yielded much in the way of real progress. The economic indicators are not good. The banks are doing all right, though. Not, perhaps, in terms of profits, but their senior personnel have managed to insulate themselves from the worst of the “austerity” we’ve been told we are all suffering for the common good. Having trousered our bailout money, kept most of the £200 billion the Bank of England conjured up for “quantitative easing”, managed to squeeze out a few billion for their own bonuses while explaining they can’t lend what they agreed with the Government to lend to small and mediumsized businesses in this country because there’s “no demand”, they’re now threatening to leave again if we’re not kind to them. It’s already clear that no politician of any colour has the balls to do more than wag the odd finger and admonish those banking characters with a “come on, now, chaps, play the game…” But it is hugely comforting for all SMEs to hear from millionaire Prime Minister David Cameron and his millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that although it won’t be easy and there’s more pain to come, “we’re all in this together.” David and George, we feel your pain. It’s a tribute to the patience and deeprooted respect for authority in this country that, in the face of what some might say is a massive, sustained and institutionalised conning of the public, the only signs of civil unrest this year were nothing to do with genuine “protest”, but were just an opportunist outburst of criminal activity sparked by the realisation that even more could be stolen from Britain’s retailers under cover of “rioting.” Is there anything we can do to increase the prospects of a better 2012? Our top tip is this: “Quantitative easing” is sometimes

explained as the Bank “printing money” to put into the economy to stimulate activity, although it’s not physically printed but is created electronically. Another £75 billion in quantitative easing has been announced. Why don’t they actually, really print it this time, and get some vans to deliver wads of cash – say £75,000 each - to a million small businesses in the UK? That way we solve the small business bank lending problem at a stroke, and guarantee that the £75 billion will get straight into the economy and be put to good use immediately, helping the people who will spearhead the recovery to get on with it. It will at least stop the money from sticking in the banks’ balance sheets, where most of the first £200 billion quantitative easing went. Finally, it appears that Mary Portas, whom David Cameron imagined was the right celebrity to save our High Streets, has, as celebrities so often will, blown it entirely. She’s reported to have called the women in the Coalition Cabinet an “ugly bunch” and criticised their dress sense. Mary, O Mary, that is so wrong on so many levels, and exposes the extreme poverty of the celebrity culture. “Dave” Cameron’s description of her as “straight-talking, no-nonsense”, is looking increasingly like “garrulous, no-thinking.” She backed up her criticism with this supremely articulate and expressive comparison of the “ugly” UK cabinet with French women: “they’re like, wow, aren’t they? What do we have?” How many serious retailers, struggling with real problems, have with heads in hands been thinking: “get that woman away from me, my business, my high street and the entire retail industry.” I think Mr Cameron would do well now to let Mary Portas go back to her reality TV career, and to making the most of her ten minutes of fame, and perhaps focus on less “glamorous” but more effective sources of help for retailers. We don’t want Wayne Rooney to be in charge of reorganizing FIFA. We don’t see Joe Pasquale or Les Dennis as appropriate Government advisors on foreign policy. So why, oh why……?

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

Lynne Henry Communications Officer, GfK Marketing Services

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Average net circulation for the 12 issues distributed between Jan-Dec 2008 is 6,228

register online at for your FREE copy of Get Connected Magazine


September retail sales rise in value but high street volumes decline The BRC-KPMG Sales Monitor for September showed UK retail sales values up 0.3% like-for-like compared to September 2010, with total sales up 2.5%. Non-food sales improved slightly but “remain challenging,” and larger purchases were, said the BRC, “hit by fragile consumer confidence and the weak housing market.” Growth in non-food, non-store sales via the Internet, telephone and mail order fell back to achieve just a 10.1% uplift compared to the same period last year. The equivalent growth figure for 2010 was 19.1%, indicating that the recent few years’ online and non-store business growth is faltering. BRC director general Stephen Robertson commented: “In these harsh times, we have to be thankful for this minor improvement in growth compared with August but underlying conditions remain weak. Spending growth is below inflation, meaning customers are buying less than this time last year. And there’s no guarantee next month’s figure will be better. Total sales growth has been flipping between 1.5 and 2.5% for four months now and year-to-date like-for-like growth is zero. Robertson added that it is short-lived factors such as the weather and discounting which have influenced sales, not any fundamental change in how customers

are feeling. “As we head into the year’s most important trading period, we need a return of optimism,” he said. “That requires people to feel that next year they will see some payback for the current pain.” “As we are entering the crucial season in the run-up to Christmas the outlook may be described as ‘hopeful’ but that’s as good as it gets I am afraid,” added Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG. In a separate survey, the CBI reported that high street sales volumes in September remained virtually unchanged from last month and growth was slightly weaker than expected. According to the organisation’s Distributive Trades Survey, 24% of retailers reported a year-on-year rise in sales volumes, while 39% reported a fall. The balance was the weakest since May 2010. The three-month moving average, which smoothes out volatility in the monthly figures, fell by 11% – the fastest decline since August 2009. Judith McKenna, Chair of the Distributive Trades Panel and ASDA Chief Operating Officer, blamed the performance on a combination of low wage growth, high prices and rising unemployment. “Consumer confidence continues to be bruised,” she said. “Shoppers are still clamping down on discretionary spending and focused on buying the basics at the best price.”

Shop price inflation steady Overall shop price inflation remained well below the Consumer Price Index – the Government’s official measure of inflation – in September, stabilising at 2.7%. The BRCNielsen Shop Price Index showed that food inflation was unchanged at 5.0%, while non-


OCT 2011

food fell to 1.3% from 1.4% in August.


AMDEA announces new Chairman AMDEA has announced that John Morrissey, Managing Director of Indesit Company, replaces former BSH chief Uwe Hanneck as Chairman of the industry association as of 26 October 2011. Hanneck held the role for six years.

High Street footfall 1.2% down in September A report from retail analysts Springboard shows overall footfall on the UK’s high streets fell by 1.2% in September compared to the same month last year, but smaller towns appear to be gaining shoppers, while cities are suffering a disproportionate loss of visitors. The Springboard research said that taking cities out of the equation, footfall was actually up 1.3% compared to September last year, indicating that the “shop local” drive, probably boosted by consumers’ disinclination to travel more than necessary, may be having a measurable effect.

UK economy “deteriorating” says BCC The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has again downgraded its forecast for UK economic growth this year, from the 1.9% predicted at the beginning of 2011 to 1.1%. The news followed official figures from the Office for National Statistics showing just 0.1% growth in the second quarter of the year. The BCC’s survey of 6,700 businesses revealed that cash flow

“remains a real concern” for many. Director General John Longworth commented: “The pace of the UK recovery will remain slow. We can avoid a recession but this relies on the Government making some tough policy choices. While it is imperative that the Government perseveres with its deficit-cutting plan, there must be a significant reallocation of priorities within the overall spending envelope.”


Hughes Electrical wins major business accolade

UK’s middle incomes falling fast The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has issued a forecast that predicts two years “dominated by a large decline” in UK incomes, and “the biggest drop for middle-income families since the 1970s.” The body said this will have the effect of pushing more families below the official poverty line, and will also have the possibly longer-term effect of crippling the UK economy for years to come by squeezing the middleincome driving force behind consumer buying activity. This is bad news for electricals and for retailing in general. The IFS warned that the sharp drop in median income, calculated at 7% after the effects of inflation, is the worst fall in real household incomes for 35 years, and the “squeezed middle,” which in times of growth and confidence drives the real economy by spending on consumer goods, will be forced to impose strict austerity measures upon itself and curb even the normal consumption patterns of replacement and aspirational purchases that keep retail buoyant. The median income, forecasts the IFS, will begin to rise slowly after 2013, but will not have recovered to 2009 levels by 2015.

DRL drives warranty sales White goods retailer DRL is to create hundreds of jobs at a new call centre in Manchester as it looks to increase sales of its Worry-free Warranty scheme. The company is said to have invested £1 million in the venture and has signed up for an initial 15,000 sq ft of property to house the operation. Founder and CE John Roberts told a local news source that the firm’s warranty scheme was already enjoying significant growth but that he sees huge scope to greatly accelerate its sales. “The extended warranty market has had a lot of bad press, mainly because it deserves it,” he said. “We have decided to completely redefine this market and offer customers good value. Our scheme involves a payment of just a few pounds a month with no contract, so customers can cancel whenever they want. Due to the sheer volume of orders we transact, we see huge potential for growth.” In July this year, DRL posted a 50% increase in like-for-like revenues in the first quarter of its current financial year and upped its full-year forecast to £250 million following a strong upsurge in sales since the beginning of April.

Euronics announces 2012 Conference location Buying and marketing group Euronics has announced that its 2012 Overseas Conference will be held in Tallinn, Estonia from 24th to 29th June at the Swissôtel (pictured). CI(H) chief executive Stuart Cook said: “We are looking forward to welcoming an increased number of members in the capital city of Estonia. “The annual Conference is an excellent opportunity for members to not only meet suppliers, but also the CI(H) management team.”

OCT 2011

GDHA brand Stoves has applied the contemporary looks of its popular Sterling range cooker to a number of products in a new built-in collection. The Stoves Sterling built-in portfolio comprises five fanned and multifunction electric ovens, two gas hobs and a ceramic electric hob, all of which are available in a stainless steel finish. Steve Dickson, Commercial Manager for Stoves, commented on the collection: “We believe the contemporary and rugged looks of the Stoves Sterling built-in is unique in the current market and will be well received by our retailers.” A number of new hoods have been introduced to complement the new range.

this is what keeps customers coming back time and time again. “This year has been an important one; not only are we celebrating 90 years in business but have also successfully integrated five Bennetts stores into the group and have been tackling the digital switchover. So to win this award is a real boost for everyone.”


Sterling boost for Stoves built-in

Lowestoft-based independent Hughes Electrical has been named “Barclays Corporate Business of the Year” in the annual Eastern Daily Press Business Awards. The independent retailer is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, and despite trading conditions that have been extremely challenging for the UK electrical retailing sector, has reported increases both in turnover and profits. Managing director Robert Hughes (pictured, courtesy of Eastern Daily Press), said: “We are delighted to have received this award, recognising as it does the great work carried out by everyone involved with the company.We have always made customer service our number one priority and firmly believe



Amica offers free collection of WEEE and packaging

Indesit’s “war on waste” rewarded Indesit Company’s logistics division has won the “Business Recycler of the Year” award at the 2011 National Recycling Awards for its “comprehensive environmental management system, which takes in waste collection, vehicle emissions, energy reduction and water savings.” Dominic Vertuccio, Indesit Company Logistics Managing Director, said: “It goes to show that it’s not just our products that are becoming more energy and resource efficient – the way we work day-to-day also reflects our commitment to the environment and that has been recognised by winning this fantastic award.”

Neff dealers raise fivefigure sum for Macmillan Cancer Support


OCT 2011

Neff has announced a £14,000 boost for Macmillan Cancer Support after its dealer network took part in the ‘The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ on Friday 30th September, organising 68 regional events in showrooms throughout England, Scotland and Wales.


Polish manufacturer Amica has joined forces with The Wastepack Group and Electrolink to offer electrical retailers and distributors a free of charge collection and disposal service for electrical products from all industry brands and the collection of associated packaging for recycling. Under the new Amica Wastepack scheme, retailers will no longer require membership of The Distributors Take Back Service, representing a saving of around £500 a year. Simon Freear, country manager for Amica, commented: “This scheme allows us to offer a national

service that is not only completely free, but also saves our retailers paying additional fees and removes the hassle and time associated with compliance paperwork. Amica retailers may then choose to offer a complimentary collection and disposal service to their own customers.” Retailers registering for the new scheme will receive the necessary documentation to show effective and proper WEEE handling along with a range of point-of-sale material to promote the recycling service in store.

CAI to broaden its scope The Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI) says it is looking at re-badging its ‘domestic’ area of membership to ‘Connected Home Installer’ and its ‘systems’ membership to an enhanced ‘Integrated Networks’ category, in a move that will reflect the way antenna installers have adapted to a new climate of signal engineering. CAI Senior Executive Tim Jenks said that the Confederation’s membership had traditionally joined for the advantages of the representation offered to broadcasters

reaching viewers via terrestrial aerials and satellite. But with analogue replacement, that landscape has changed dramatically and the aerial installer now has to be a “master of cable installation, TV receiver connectivity and broadband networking.” With the scale of change brought about by the new digital era, Jenks commented that “the CAI will once more rise to being at the forefront of representation for businesses installing or supplying equipment for signal networks.”

BSH announces management changes BSH Home Appliances Ltd has announced that Alan Carter (pictured) is to retire after 25 years as Sales Director of the Bosch brand. He will be succeeded by Simon Jones, current Sales Director of Siemens, whose role will be filled by Sales Director of the Gaggenau brand Paul Tyler. Tyler will continue to oversee the Gaggenau Sales Team while his successor is recruited. BSH CEO Michael Steinle said: “I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Alan Carter for 25 years of loyal service to the company and for his significant contribution to the growth of Bosch in the UK. On a personal note, I am very grateful to Alan for agreeing to stay on longer than he planned to help me ensure a smooth transition for the brand. On behalf of BSH, I wish him a very long and happy retirement. “In addition, I would also like to congratulate Simon Jones and Paul Tyler on their important new roles at BSH. I wish them every success in further developing the business in the months and years ahead.”

Jamie Oliver becomes Samsung MDA ambassador Samsung has announced that Jamie Oliver is to endorse its range of split cavity Dual Cook ovens and refrigeration products. The partnership with the popular TV chef is intended to raise Samsung’s profile at retail level, with in-store and POS materials and advertising and PR rights across digital and traditional media. A fully integrated marketing drive for Samsung major domestic appliances during 2012 will also aim to inspire customers to choose the healthy option of

cooking fresh food by incorporating Jamie’s recipes as part of the campaign. Samsung has donated ovens, fridges and other major domestic appliances to the Jamie Oliver Foundation for use in its Ministry of Food Centres and school kitchens. The chef commented that he was “truly amazed” by the technology. Nick Portlock, General Manager, Samsung Home Appliances, said: “We intend this relationship to take Samsung’s position in the major domestic appliance market to new heights.”


Jura extends high street distribution

AEG maintains support of grassroots rugby AEG’s Grassroots Rugby Campaign, launched earlier this year and supported by England Rugby Union “legends” Austin Healey and Will Greenwood, has now moved into its next phase. The final 50 teams of young players, who all, courtesy of AEG, started their season in a speciallydesigned Samurai kit and were also given a “laundry package” for their club house, now have the chance to compete for the big prize: a rugby training course delivered by some of the greats of the game. “It’s very simple,” said Will Greenwood. “If the team wants an opportunity to learn from the best, they need to get everyone they know voting.” Voters, as well as having the opportunity to make the dreams of 22 junior players come true, have the added incentive of winning a holiday for four to the 5-star Forte Village Resort in Sardinia, where the children will be coached by England rugby legends.

Swiss brand Jura has partnered with John Lewis to bring further distribution of its products to the high street in time for the Christmas shopping season. Appliances from the bean-to-cup coffee machine manufacturer will be available at the retailer’s stores in Oxford Street, High Wycombe and Stratford and online at Retailers can find out more about Jura products at

New World in contrast

New World has launched a new collection of built-in ovens to coincide with the revamp of the brand and the introduction of the ‘New World: Designed for Life’ strapline. The new Colours collection comprises single and double built-in ovens in a choice of sizes and fuel types, which contrast black glass with a brightly coloured trim in metallic purple, blue, green, red and an ‘ultra-shiny’ chrome finish. Models are also available in the more traditional finishes of white, black and stainless steel. Jon Brennan, Commercial Manager for the brand, said New World is well known for its freestanding products, “so we wanted to develop a product range that would make our mark in the built-in sector. There is a huge amount of stainless steel and black built-in products out there and we felt that a stylish, affordable range of products which experimented with colour would be well received. “This is an exciting time for New World, with the new branding and strapline reflecting our position in the market, appealing to a younger, style-conscious audience looking for on-trend, practical appliances at an affordable price point.”

Trade-only distributor of home

Consumer magazine Which? has awarded

MidwichHome, the home technology

entertainment and home automation

Best Buy status to the Nimble A8602AZ,

arm of AV distribution group Midwich,

products Habitech has signed a deal

AEG’s first upright vacuum cleaner. The

has established a new division offering a

to distribute Sonance’s Original Series,

appliance scored five stars for dust and

specialist service to independent retailers.

Visual Performance, Architectural Series,

allergen retention and was recommended

The division will be headed up by former

Landscape Series and the ‘all new’ range

for pet owners. The AEG T75280AC

Lawton Managing Director Neil Drain in the

of Invisible Series speakers. Habitech said

condenser dryer also received a Best Buy

role of Retail Sales Manager.

it will cease to handle Current Audio and

after achieving an overall score of 64% and

Stealth Acoustics products.

a five-star reliability rating.

Neff has

Electrolux’s ERU14410 under-counter

American-style side-by-side fridge freezer,

announced the

fridge has been awarded Best Buy status

which incorporates the brand’s patented

appointment of

by Which? Magazine for the second time.

6th Sense® technology.

Richard Gilbert

The appliance first gained the accolade in

as Regional

September 2010.

Whirlpool has won an International Design and Architecture Award for its Nova

Smeg has been awarded the Sirius Buying

The Zanussi ZQF6114A has received a

newly created

Best Buy, with an overall rating of 77% by

Beko PLC has

sales region of Central and West of England.

Which? Online.

announced the appointment of

Gilbert has been with Neff as an Area Business Manager for over 10 years as part

freesat and marketing partner Retail

Teresa Arbuckle,

of the Southern region team.

Marketing Group have announced the free-

a marketing

to-air broadcast service’s success in winning

professional with 20

Panasonic is offering £50 cash back on

first place in the ‘Most effective brand/store

years’ experience, as

purchases of selected HD camcorders in a

relationship’ category at the Field Marketing

marketing director for

promotion running until 14th January 2012.

and Brand Experience Awards.

the UK and Ireland.


the company’s

OCT 2011

Group Supplier of the Year 2011.

Manager for


Hoover Aristocrat condenser dryer

Loewe SoundVision audio system The all-in-one Loewe SoundVision is an independently functioning sound system which is also network compatible and can be wirelessly integrated into an existing home entertainment network. The newly developed user interface ensures simple control and convenience via the 7.5-inch multi-touch display or the Loewe Assist remote control. The system has a concealed CD drive with slot-loading mechanism and is available in Aluminium Silver or Aluminium Black with a range of interchangeable, coloured side insets providing customisation. SRP £1,250. 

Hoover Candy has introduced a B-rated condenser dryer into the Hoover Aristocrat home laundry collection which is available to members of buying group CI(H). The 9kg condenser model (DYC169A) benefits from an ‘Aquavision’ reservoir sited in the door of the appliance, which provides a clear, at-a-glance view of the water level, so users know when the unit needs emptying. 

Sensor dry technology

10 programmes

Delay Start up to 24 hours

Digital countdown display

Timed drying up to 120 minutes

ATAG HI3271W induction wok Dutch kitchen appliance brand Atag has introduced an induction wok as part of its popular Domino Puzzle Line. The stainless steel-trimmed 38cm unit has a bowl-shaped zone with 3000W boost and comes with a high quality Demeyere wok and worktop wok stand – matching cover available if requested

6 x built-in speakers, including 2 x integrated subwoofers

Network connection via LAN, WLAN or Powerline

Recommendations for new songs via Aupeo! / Gracenote music recognition service

Bluetooth compatible music transfer


New York-based Grado has introduced a new set of monitoring headphones that deliver virtually distortion-free and “strikingly lifelike” musical performances. According to UK distributor Armour Home, the compact PS500 (RSP £700) – part of Grado’s Professional Series – delivers “nearly all” the performance of the brand’s flagship PS1000 headphones, which retail at £1,835 per pair.

Frequency Response: 14Hz - 29KHz SPL (1mW): 98db Normal Impedance: 3W2ohms Driver matching: 0.05db

Connector type: 6.3mm stereo jack


01279 501111

Fast forward touch control

Integrated timer / Pause key

Pre-programmed ideal wok setting

Child-proof lock and residual heat indicator

2-year parts and labour guarantee, automatically increased to 5 years when product purchased with three or more other ATAG appliances

0208 247 3993

020 7368 1100

Grado PS500 Professional Series headphones

Panasonic MC-UG614 upright vacuum cleaner Panasonic has added a new lightweight model to its awardwinning range of vacuum cleaners. The new MC-UG614 incorporates the well-favoured features of existing models, but weighs only 5.9kg. 

Lightweight manoeuvrability with new ‘super swivel’ nozzle

Eco-Max Light 2-motor system

HEPA dust bag

HEPA exhaust filter

0844 844 3852


Baumatic Quattro American-style fridge freezer Baumatic’s 4-door Quattro Americanstyle fridge freezer is finished in black mirror glass and has a 260-litre fridge with multiple compartments, four safety-glass shelves, two salad crispers and two bottle racks. The bottom section has six freezer drawers and a gross capacity of 148 litres.  A-rated with automatic defrost

4-star freezer 

Twist ice maker

Operational noise level 39 dB(A)

0118 933 6900

AEG A Modo Mio Favola espresso machine

Britannia E Line XG range cooker

AEG has collaborated with the Italian coffee producer Lavazza to bring the new A Modo Mio Favola espresso coffee machine to market. The appliance uses Lavazza’s unique capsule system and offers 8 coffee blends.

Premium kitchen appliance brand Britannia Living has extended its E Line range cooker collection with a new XG model available in gloss black or stainless steel. The XG was first launched in 2005 and is now one of Britannia’s most popular configurations. RRP £2,499. 

Separate grill compartment

6-burner hotplate

9-function oven with Quickstart preheat system

Fully automatic programmer and minute minder

4-function second oven with rotisserie

01253 471001

A Modo Mio Favola: RSP £149 / Pinot Green/Ice White; Grape Purple/Ice White; Love Red/Ice White; Chocolate Brown/ Ice White

A Modo Mio Favola Plus (with automatic and programmable drink size and cup illumination): RSP £179 / Chocolate Brown/Frosted Almond; Granite Grey/ Metallic Chocolate Brown

08445 614614

Internet radio with vTuner 5* full service / Optional FM/ DAB module

Front panel USB port

Apple authenticated digital iPod/iPhone playback

Three S/PDIF inputs

01722 426673


The new ND5 XS is Naim’s first network player to stream 24bit/192kHz sources natively. Designed and engineered to integrate into brand’s range at a similar quality level as the slim-line XS series, the unit is performance upgradeable in stages, currently with the addition of an XPS or PS 555 power supply and/or Naim DAC. A matching slim-line power supply will be available next year.

OCT 2011

Naim ND5 XS slim-line network player



George Cole ” George Cole pinpoints hotspots in the world of consumer electronics. E-mail:



’m writing this the day after Apple co-

this sector? Cool design, slick marketing

percentage of any additional sales (like

founder and CEO Steve Jobs died,

and some clever strategic moves (like

advertising) generated by the app. In

and the media is awash with articles

persuading all the major music companies

the consumer electronics market, such

about his legacy. There’s no doubt that

to support the iTunes music library

dominance from a single company is no

Apple has had a profound effect on the

service and making it easy for consumers

longer possible. The last time a single

consumer electronics market. Until the

to purchase individual music tracks

consumer electronics company held the

arrival of the iPod, the home audio and

and transfer them to an iPod) definitely

dominant position in any market was JVC

personal audio markets were dominated

played a role. But so did the fact that

and its VHS format. In the audio market,

by consumer electronics companies,

consumer electronics companies dropped

Sony and Philips controlled the CD

and in particular, Sony, with its range of

the ball when it came to digital audio

market. But since then, all major consumer

Walkman products. But the arrival of iPod

players. There are various reasons why: a

electronics products, systems and formats

transformed the audio market and put

reluctance to shake up a market that was

have been developed by a consortium

Apple in the driving seat. These days, an

doing well; the speed at which listening

of companies – whether it’s DVD, Blu-ray,

iPod port or dock is almost a standard

habits and technology changed; issues

3DTV, or the DLNA home network standard.

feature on home audio systems and

over piracy, and hobbling their devices


with copy protection systems that made

now that Jobs is no longer here, can

them awkward to use.

Apple maintain its dominance? My own

Apple wasn’t the first company to market a digital music player, and nor were

What is also interesting is how Apple

The question on everyone’s lips is:

hunch is that in the short term (say the

the first iPods the best products available

has achieved this by operating a closed

next five years), it will, but without Jobs’

at the time (I remember when the iPod was

system: in order to use iTunes you need

drive, determination and vision, Apple

launched, a friend of mine swearing by his

an iPod, iPhone or iPad tablet computer. In

will find it harder to develop the products,

Sony MP3 player, which offered a much

the case of the iPad, Apple even controls

technologies and marketing strategies that

longer battery life than any iPod), so why

the apps that can be used on it and

enable it to maintain such a strong grip on

did Apple become the dominant player in

takes a 30% slice of app revenue – and a

the markets it operates in.


OCT 2011



What’s the difference between a Blu-ray player manufactured on

all new Blu-ray players were designed so that their component video

31 December 2010 and one made on 1 January 2011? On the face of

ports can only output a standard definition signal. From January 1 2014,

it, very little, but this year saw the first step in a strategy designed to

all new Blu-ray players will no longer include analogue outputs.

plug the so-called analogue hole. While an HDMI digital connection

Note that this strategy only applies to Blu-ray players and not

supports an anti-copy system called HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital

other consumer electronics products. That said, Panasonic’s new

Content Protection), analogue outputs don’t. HDCP can be used to

Freeview HD PVRs, the DMR-HW100 and DMR-PWT500, only offer

prevent users copying digital content, control the number of copies

HMDI out video sockets. Panasonic will no doubt say that these

that can be made and even specify the copy quality. But someone

products are designed for high definition digital video, so it makes

using a component video output can make a high definition copy

sense to drop analogue connections, although its DMR-BWT800 – a

and then digitise it. However, under the Blu-ray licensing system,

combined HD hard drive/Blu-ray recorder - does include Scarts.

manufacturers have agreed a two-stage process to block the analogue

But it also means that users can’t archive programmes (albeit in SD

hole. Phase one came into play at the beginning of the year, when

quality) onto many DVD recorders.



TV projectors Alan Bennett asks: could you sell projection TV? SHARP 3D DLP PROJECTOR

thus the maximum picture size for a given

brightness and contrast with a smooth,

possible with high definition TV.

spacing, important in small viewing rooms.

sharp and detailed image. Where do you

Movies and sport look stunning on

In general, and in each product category,

want to pitch yourself in this market?

a very large screen, and the recent advent

the price of a TV projector closely reflects its

of 3D TV has enhanced the experience

performance in terms of picture brightness

Screens and sound

further: home cinema enthusiasts have

(which is anyway inversely proportional

The simplest and cheapest projection

never had it so good!

to the image size); focus and sharpness;

TV screen is a white-painted wall. Better

picture structure, artefacts and grain; and

are proprietary reflective screens, some

many minor aspects. Of course all HD and

of which offer a gain in light output by

LCD and plasma screens have pushed

3D types have multiple HDMI connectors

virtue of their directivity. Electric, pull-up

up the size of TV pictures to 55 inch and

alongside component inputs, though

and fold-away screens are available, also

60 inch. Although larger ones have been

other analogue connectors like Scart are

sound-transparent types and just the

made their prices are disproportionately

disappearing from projectors now. This is

reflective material – by the metre – for on-

high, so for most home cinema enthusiasts

pertinent to customers who may still want to

site mounting.

the only viable way to bigger images is

operate ‘legacy’ video equipment, but it’s true

projection TV, which can provide virtually

that Blu-ray players can play ordinary (SD)

system is required with a projection outfit.

any picture size required, and do it very

DVDs via HDMI.

It can range from a simple sound-bar

Cinema centrepiece

well. While projected pictures can be

Obviously a separate surround sound

An inexpensive type of projector is

and woofer or an all-in-one disc player

shown in the lounge, they ideally need a

the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) variant,

in a modest living-room installation to a

separate, dedicated cinema room, typically

in which white lamplight is split into

full-blown Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 ensemble with

a converted bedroom, garage or attic.

its red, green and blue constituents for

behind-screen centre speaker and mighty

Because the screen is a reflective (bright

separate modulation by the picture’s RGB

woofer in a dedicated home theatre setting.

white) one, the ambient light level must be

components and then re-combined into a

kept reasonably low – as in a real cinema

full-colour image. They are generally small


– to prevent image dilution or washout.

and light, but cheaper models may display

TV projectors represent something different

There needs, too, to be a separate surround

‘chicken-wire’ and other image artefacts.

and distinctive in the market, a product not

sound system (see below), and some

LCD projectors retail from about £500

found in supermarkets and the like. Their

sources of HD and perhaps 3D pictures,

upwards. In a similar price bracket come

profit margin is better than on commodity

i.e. a Sky HD receiver and a Blu-ray player.

DLP (Digital Light Processor) types, based

stuff like thinscreen TVs and set-top boxes,

on a postage stamp-sized electromechanical

and the opportunity is there to sell a wide

experience can be breathtaking, and well

chip having an array of tiny mirrors, one per

range of peripheral gear: sound processors

worth the time, cost and effort involved,

pixel, which reflect lamplight to the screen

and speakers, screens, Blu-ray players, 3D

over a wide range of budgets.

on a switch-mode basis via a rotating colour

camcorders and the smaller accessories

filter wheel to give an RGB-sequential image.

like high-quality cables, posh universal

Expensive variants use three DLP chips,

zappers etc.

Given these, the home cinema

Projector types TV projectors embrace many different types

one for each primary colour, and/or a triple

and prices. There are standard-definition

LED light source in place of the lamp: this

have the ability to install and commission

types, but their pictures are really too

eliminates the ‘rainbow image’ effects of

this equipment, or perhaps to do the

coarse for most purposes. In the high-

cheaper models.

necessary room conversion or theatre

definition category there are 2D and 3D

You can go further. Few purchasers will

More costly – and of course better – are

lighting – or even to select and match the

types, the latter available with either active

the exotic JVC D-ILA (Digital Imaging Light

various components of the system within

or passive spectacles. All of them can be

Amplification) and Sony SXRD (Silicon

the proposed budget. These professional

ceiling or table mounted, and produce

Crystal Reflective Display) models, boasting

services, perhaps in alliance with a tuned-in

pictures as large as required, depending on

liquid crystal imaging devices, much more

local builder/decorator, are good profit

projector-to-screen spacing. The throw-

sophisticated than the basic LCD job.

drivers. There is still money about in niche

ratio determines the deflection angle and

Starting at about £2000, they offer excellent

markets like this....



eally big TV pictures have become



” He’s a committed family man who admires his wife’s capacity to get things done and is amused by

his young son’s rendition of Jessie J songs. But he is no stranger to disappointment, having been a Southampton supporter from an early age; and if you’re a middle lane cruiser, you could easily get on the wrong side of James Attfield, General Manager of Vogel’s.

Why did you choose to work in the electrical industry?

What’s your favourite cuisine?

What’s the best kind of punishment…?


The slow and painful kind...

You have been offered a leading role in a film of your choice, what character would you like to play?

…and who deserves it?

Who in the industry would you like to spend time with? Robert Hughes


What makes you laugh?

You have been offered the opportunity to rule the world for a day. What would be the first change you would make?

A love of gadgets

My two year old son singing Jessie J songs

What was the greatest turning point in your life? Starting a family – no contest

Hobbies? Swimming

What’s the worst lie you’ve ever told? Of course I will make it home for the kids’ bath time

What’s your greatest regret?

3 day weekends for everyone

Is there anything about yourself that you would like to change? I wish I liked getting up in the morning

Do you have any hidden talents? You’d have to ask my wife

Do you have any particular fetishes? And while you’re there, ask her that one too

Supporting the Saints FC – it’s condemned me to a life of purgatory

What would you put into Room 101?

What historic figure do you identify with most?

What’s your greatest achievement?

Julius Caesar – Rome wasn’t built in a day...

How would you describe yourself? Passionate

How do you think others see you? Passionate

Who do you most admire? Matthew Le Tissier – look what he did for the Saints: he single handedly kept them in the top division for over 10 years. Quality always shines through

What’s your favourite piece of kit? My iPad, currently

What motto do you live by? You get out what you put in.....

Life is… ….what you make it

What sort of music do you like? Anything I can sing along to in the car

Favourite quote? ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’

Do you have any bad habits?

As previous 2-minute interviewees have found out, GC is read all over the world! – Ed.

OCT 2011

My boss (obviously)… Do they read this in the Netherlands?


Bad service, and people who cruise in the middle lane of the motorway... Snoring (apparently)

Billionaire philanthropist

Vodka and tonic

Favourite TV programme?

What do you daydream about?

30 rock

A lie in

What surprises you?

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Italy



Haven’t had it yet

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

How much my wife can get done in a day...

What’s your greatest fear?


What’s your pet hate?

If you weren’t in your present position, what job would you choose to do?

.....That’s for me to know and them to experience

Name your poison

Independent retailer: “Will I survive into 2012. I don’t know. But I am certain that this is not a business I’d want to be passing on to my children. I would definitely advise them to go into something else. Maybe banking.”

White goods manufacturer: “You ask all the major manufacturers and they say ‘it’s tough, but we are actually doing well.’ Then you look at the trouble electrical retailers are in, and you wonder how that can be.”




Not going out The general trend of preparing meals from scratch using fresh ingredients and, unavoidably, a wider range of cooking methods is also on the rise – the celebrity chefdriven enthusiasm for culinary DIY clearly stimulated by necessity as consumers bear the full impact of the continuing economic downturn. Shrinking disposable incomes mean less dining out, fewer takeaways, and a rethink on the worth of shop bought, oven-ready meals. Evidence shows that this protracted depression has also created a more cautious consumer with a new set of values. If money is to be spent on durable goods, it must be spent wisely and on products that will last. Hence, the cooking market has seen value rise ahead of volume. GfK’s Seema Baines reports that total cooking is currently worth £613 million (MAT Sept10-Aug11), a rise of 3% compared to the same period last year. As a sector, this represents 21% of all major appliance sales.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… As the festive season quickly closes in and household preparations for the ‘big day’ get underway, those choosing a cooking appliance may well need some down-to-earth, practical guidance from retailers.With the emotional stimulus of entertaining family and friends over the holiday period, purchasers may need reminding that the week-long cooking extravaganza and way of life bears little resemblance to how most people live during the rest of the year.




is the speed with which summer slips into autumn and autumn to winter that takes the oblivious Briton by surprise; the transition hastened by the absence of the balmy September days that once paved the way for October’s mature sunshine and crisp air, before nature’s most glorious phase surrendered to the damp pre-winter climate – precursor of the dark days before Christmas. But when consciousness rises, so too does the realisation that a different set of pleasures awaits. Fair-weather barbecue cooks gladly hang up the tongs and, let’s be honest, most of us relish the switch from salads to stews, content to gratify the senses with indoor comforts and heartwarming winter meals. Of course, one particular aspect of the season is the prospect of a more refined dining experience, and with this comes the pressure that cooking and hosting can bring, especially at Christmas, which, for many, is one of the most important and emotional times of the year. For consumers choosing cooking appliances, decisions can easily be influenced by this one-off grand event which puts the versatility of appliances, and cooking skills, to the test.

Choosing an oven Those coming back into the market for an oven after many years will no doubt be surprised by the developments in products, the choice of finishes, from vivid colours to mirrored glass, the technologies, some of which may not have existed or perhaps weren’t a mass market proposition when they last shopped for such an appliance. Looking back at manufacturers’ comments throughout the year, consensus holds that convenience is a top priority for today’s cook, speed is essential and products have to be easy and intuitive to use. Some consumers won’t be bothered whether an oven has masses of technical wizardry, as long as it has accurate and even temperature throughout and cooks a pizza to a ‘T’. On the other hand, there is an increasing number of budding gourmet chefs in British households who require greater functionality, and with home entertaining on the rise, people will generally want appliances that make life easier for them while producing the perfect result. As one manufacturer pointed out: “There are lots of programmes on ovens, but the number isn’t important. It’s what the appliance can do to make lifestyles easier that matters.”

“Whilst value continues to perform well, volume sales have in fact remained flat at just below 1.5 million units over the past year, but prices remain robust across most major appliance markets, and for the cooking market, average price has remained above £400 over the past two years.” Baines adds that much of the value growth was driven by a significant improvement in the built-in segment, which rose 6% during the same period, adding almost £13.5 million to the market.

Cooking technology The purchase of big-ticket items may be well considered and researched by consumers, but retailers have an important role to play in showing the rich choice of products available and explaining the benefits of appliance technologies to ensure customers are guided towards a decision that will suit their lifestyles. Technology can be daunting, but if it helps save time and resources, and is simple to use, most people will be willing to pay that little bit extra – even in these straitened times – if value for money is evident. For the unskilled cook, ovens that feature pre-programmed recipes and have the facility to automatically select the best cooking options for a variety of dishes, with just a little manual intervention, such as inputting the weight of a joint of meat, are likely to be an attractive proposition. The novice cook can relax in the knowledge that sensors will monitor the temperature precisely, adapting the cooking time and controlling the process to deliver the perfect result using the minimum amount of energy. And with energy costs contributing heavily to the pressure on household


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budgets, consumers need to be aware that the purchase of an intelligent, resource-efficient oven will save money in the long run.


Capacity With the prospect of Christmas ahead it is natural that most people replacing an oven will focus on the size of the cavity. And if the all-year-round lifestyle demands a large cooking capacity, never has there been a greater choice of 65-litre-plus models on the market. A number of major brands have recently introduced products with extra-large cavities, more cooking levels and heat distribution systems that ensure even airflow throughout, without the transfer of flavours – thus, the time- and money-saving benefits of such appliances can be exploited to the full. Another option worth highlighting to purchasers is the split cavity oven, which fulfills the need for greater capacity while offering energy savings when, for example, only one cooking level is required or dishes need to be cooked at different temperatures. Such products have an insulating divider that splits the oven into two compartments that can be used independently, so two different temperatures and cooking modes can be operated at the same time. One appliance on the market claims to save up to 40% of the total time taken to cook a pizza – compared to using a standard single oven – via a ‘fast cook’ programme. It also has a grill that heats up 40% faster than a standard grill in the company’s range, providing up to 25% in energy savings.

Widening choice For the health-conscious cook, the option of a steam oven may not have come under consideration as dedicated steam ovens were once regarded as specialist appliances. Now, however, with the plethora of 18

compact built-in oven formats on the market, we’re looking at a more mainstream proposition with models available from a wide range of brands. Combi steam ovens are a second and, for some, more flexible option, especially if space for only one oven exists. Models with preset cooking functions will help users unfamiliar with steam cooking off to a confident start. Consumers’ increasing desire for multi-cavity cooking has driven the trend for steam ovens, combinations of single ovens, microwaves/combi microwaves and accessories such as coffeemakers and warming drawers. Combination pieces offer versatility and the opportunity to make a design statement, with the creation of a stylish, linear bank or tower of appliances, and retailers gain the bonus of selling add-ons alongside the traditional oven, which, amongst the aforementioned items such as coffee makers, also include hydraulic-lift doors, or décor doors, in the same design and finish as combi products, so small appliances, recipe books or items that need to be hidden from view can be tucked away neatly in what is essentially a ‘mock’ appliance, bringing a chic, streamlined appearance to the kitchen.

Inbuilt premium Cleaning the oven is a universally hated chore which is both messy and time consuming and not how anyone would want to spend time at Christmas, nor, for that matter, at any other time of the year: consumers are doing more in the way of home entertaining, thus, the oven gets more use, and as one commentator pointed out, “the pressure to maintain the appliance in spotless condition has become greater as it ‘on display’ in the hub of the home.” It is no surprise, then, that products with inbuilt cleaning facilities have become a popular consumer choice. “One of the key features responsible for driving built-in value growth is the premium market for ovens with self-cleaning capabilities. Pyrolitic ovens use extremely high temperatures to remove grease and dirt, making light work of cleaning the oven,” comments GfK’s Seema Baines. “Unsurprisingly,” she adds, “this technology does not come cheap – the average price for a pyrolitic oven in August was £648.” However, the worth of such technology is demonstrated in its money- and time-saving benefits – no need to use harsh chemical cleaners or extensive elbow grease – and in GfK’s figures: Baines points out that the market experienced growth of 17% for the twelve months to August and is now worth £22 million.

Freestanding While the demand for built-in appliances is growing, the freestanding sector continues to keep a firm grip on the total market, due in part to replacement purchases but more so by the popularity of range cookers, which tend to offer greater capacities and, for some,

AEG ProCombi multifunction steam oven Long the choice of professional chefs, steam ovens are becoming a ‘must have’ for people who are passionate about cooking. The AEG ProCombi steam oven offers the best of both worlds – all the benefits of a highly specified multifunction oven with three steam settings: 100% steam, 50% steam and 25% steam. ProCombi has also been designed to ensure ease of use – the water refill panel is accessed from the front instead of inside. This makes it easy to refill even when cooking is underway. An automatic de-steaming cycle before cooking ends keeps steam from billowing into the user’s face when they open the door. This A-10% energy-rated model features AEG’s large capacity MaxiKlasse oven (74 litres) and is finished in stainless steel. Trade Sales Number 08445 610561

represent the ultimate statement piece, whether in a contemporary or traditional kitchen setting. Baines notes that “although freestanding cookers account for two-thirds of the total market they have only grown by 1% over the twelve months to August. Within this segment, however, it is the premium end that is growing, with range cookers up 8% on last year.” The freestanding sector has also benefitted from the many advances in style and technology which have continued to cross over from built-in. As a result, products offer smarter lines, more in the way of intelligent cooking options and are becoming more energy efficient – the introduction of induction into the sector offering a faster, more controllable cook-top option, which is both safer and cleaner to use. A bonus for retailers and consumers is that it is now possible to co-ordinate freestanding cookers with built-in appliances such as steam ovens, microwaves, coffee machines and warming drawers as some brands have taken the same aesthetic across both categories to provide consumers with consistency in design, while broadening retailers’ scope for selling additional products.


Premium products driving growth Demand for high-end products that offer style and longevity has placed Small Kitchen Appliances in the enviable position of one of the best performing sectors currently tracked by industry analysts GfK.


he small kitchen appliance market maintained growth throughout the recession, and despite consumers continuing to draw in their horns, volume and value is still expanding. In the 12 months to the end of August 2011, GfK figures show a volume rise of 1.73% and a significant lift of 11.82% in value. The organisation’s Seema Baines says such growth is driven by “a widespread trend across the sector for consumers to abandon budget products and invest instead in more expensive but longer lasting alternatives.” It is a trend that can be seen in many sectors of electrical domestic appliances, as the ‘throwaway’ movement grinds to a halt under financial pressures and consumers demand products that will do the job properly and continue to function for years to come. For SKA, the result is a 10% rise in the average price of appliances in the aforementioned 12-month period. “Across commoditised markets like Kettles and Toasters, the overall volume has remained very flat, even falling in the case of Toasters,” comments Baines. “However, the average price rise is universal, with double-digit increases across some categories as consumers recognise the benefit of buying a more premium product.”

“Much of this growth is increasingly being driven by mid-range products, as the current popularity for home cooking and baking drives consumers to seek out more professional and premium appliances.”

Trends Health products were once a significant driver of growth in the SKA market, and the impact can still be seen in some categories, particularly that of ‘dry’ fryers – products that use just a little oil to prepare foodstuffs. Blenders still very much benefit from the trend, too, while grills passed their peak some years ago and steamers and juicers have fallen out of favour – most consumers considered juicers to be messy, difficult to clean and expensive to use due to the amount of fruit required to produce a decent-sized glassful of juice. The presence of celebrity ambassadors is also thought to have brought a lift to the sector over a number of years, but whether this promotional tool will continue to drive growth remains to be seen as a number of celebrity chefs have generated more news concerning their failing restaurant businesses than the products they endorse. And who would have expected the ‘illustrious’ Marco Pierre White to have stooped to being seen on TV crudely squashing a Knorr stock cube onto a piece of meat before cooking ‘the dish’?

That said, personalities such as Saturday Kitchen’s James Martin and the down-to-earth Jamie Oliver continue to garner favour with their popular TV appearances and cooking demonstrations, but, with or without celebrity endorsement, it is, of course, a matter of stocking the right products at the right time for the right demographic, and independents and department stores such as John Lewis tend to be particularly in tune with the requirements of their clientele.

“However, the average price rise is universal, with doubledigit increases across some categories...” Seasonal perk The SKA sector generally receives a seasonal boost in the run-up to Christmas, whether products are bought to give a lift to kitchen décor or as presents for friends. There is a strong movement towards colour and iconic retrostyled appliances, as evidenced in kettles, premium food/ mixing machines and in the coffee maker sector, which has performed consistently well for a number of years. GfK’s Baines says the Hot Beverage Machines segment – driven in particular by high-end espresso machines – recorded value growth of 31.22% in the 12 months ending August 2011 compared to a year earlier. For retailers considering which product categories to stock for the oncoming season, the upper end of the market is the place to be, according to Baines: “Between mid-range commoditised markets and successful premium products, the Small Kitchen Appliance market remains one of the best performing categories GfK is tracking,” she advises.

In 2010, the Small Kitchen Appliances market was worth over £700 million, and with the mid to premium sectors driving value growth, it is an lucrative area for retailers and the signs are that opportunities will continue to grow as the influence of TV cookery shows such as Come Dine With Me, Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef prevails and pressure on household budgets continues to encourage more consumers to engage in preparing meals from basic fresh ingredients rather than pay over the nose for convenience foods. The rising trend for Oriental cuisines has also had a significant influence on food preparation and cooking methods, and products such as blenders and food processors have become essential to the preparation of the pastes that form the basis of many dishes, certainly if time is of the essence. If additional proof were needed that the nation has taken home cooking to its heart, it can be seen in the Cookware sector, where sales have risen 10.7% in volume and 15.08% in value in the twelve months ending August 2011. According to GfK’s Baines,


Growth factors




TV winners

The television remains the dominant consumer electronics product by far, and the ongoing British love affair with big, slim, stylish flat panels is what drives the market.With the development of 3D and – perhaps more immediately relevant – “Smart” TV, this essential piece of domestic equipment looks like maintaining its position at the heart of the UK home


he consumer electronics industry continued to suffer through 2011, with GfK reporting double-digit decreases in sales value each month to September 2011 and registering a massive 28% drop in June. So the 8.2% decrease in value in September 2011, compared to the same month last year, was seen as “movement in the right direction” in what GfK has described as “appalling” trading conditions. The late turning of the tide in consumer electronics, such as it is, is credited to the staple product of the sector – the flat panel TV - which turned in a “strong month” in September, at least in terms of volume, according to GfK. Sales volumes were up an “impressive” 6% compared to last year, but such are the dynamics of the market that the volume increase has been achieved at the cost of sales value. GfK’s Mark Hamilton comments on the UK TV market: “heavy discounting amongst the largest screen sizes has had a clear impact upon the value of the market, with value still down by 5% compared to September 2010. The Jumbo screen sizes (43” and above) saw prices fall -19% since last September, down to an average of £818. Alarmingly, the average prices have plummeted -9% since last month, as retailers attempt to reverse the [downward] spiralling sales that the market has seen this year.”


Looking forward


Flat panel TV – especially in its more recently refined, slimmer manifestations – has achieved a “size revolution” in UK homes, as the massive bulk of the large-screen CRT was replaced by the plasma, LCD and LED panels which have completely changed consumers’ perception of appropriate screen sizes. Homes where a 32” CRT was considered the biggest possible for the main room are now comfortably accommodating a 37” or 42” flat panel, with some consumers considering a step up to “Jumbo” size at the next upgrade. “Jumbo” (over 43”) panels have been slowly gaining ground in the UK, but still hold less than 6% of the overall flat panel market. However, discounting may have a strong influence on that in the future. Growth in “Superlarge” (33” to 42”) and “Large” (26” to 32”) screen sizes has also been significant, with “Large” sizes holding the biggest share. There is absolutely no doubt that bigger is the way the market is moving, but it should also be noted that the “Medium” (20” to 25”) category is more than holding its own as those second, third and fourth TV sets are replaced. The pressure for manufacturers and retailers in these smaller sizes is to ensure that the superior looks, performance and technological versatility now available in smaller panel sizes persuades consumers to buy new rather than “demote” older sets when they upgrade the main living room panel.


It’s no great revelation that the two “big things” in TV – as they have been for the past 2 years – are 3D TV and “Smart” or “Connected” TV. In a fiercely pricecompetitive market where manufacturers are rapidly introducing new models to keep up with the advances in technology, and retailers are discounting to keep stock moving, 3D and “Smart” TV are still able to command a premium. How long this will last is not clear, but wouldn’t it be good if, with the Olympics due in the UK in 2012 and the FIFA World Cup coming up in 2014, the industry could hold its nerve and get some value out of what are undeniably high-value technologies that consumers are willing to pay for? In the meantime, it’s also clear that 3D TV, the most trumpeted of the “new” inhome technologies, does appear to need some more exposure, some more content and a sorting out of the rival with- or without-glasses systems before it enjoys general takeup in the UK. “It is not a mainstream proposition, yet,” one independent retailer told Get Connected, “and it’s not likely to be until one or two technical issues are sorted out. But that’s no reason not to make sure you know about it, and are able to give good advice to customers. 3D and ‘3D Ready’ uptake is strongest in the larger screen sizes, as you’d expect, and a lot of my customers believe they “need” it even if they don’t have any idea yet how and what they’ll be watching in 3D.” It is probably “Smart” TV that will make the greatest strides in 2011. “It is,” said another independent retailer, “one of those things that can be quite difficult to get across to customers as an idea, but when it’s demonstrated and explained, it’s suddenly a ‘must-have.’ I think that TV has the power to keep its position as the hub of the home, and the challenge of the PC as the centre of access to multiple entertainment content has for the time being faded.”

Switch on to Haier TVs

Haier’s new LED ranges The Haier LED ranges come with and without built-in DVD player and range from 19 inch to 26 inch. Other features include: Full HD ready 1080P (22, 24 and 26 inch), built-in Freeview, 2 HDMI ports, 1 USB port, Timeshift (a function that enables a programme being recorded to be watched with a slight time delay) and USB recording.

Haier at IFA 2011 LED TV – stunning new metal design • 32 and 42 inch • 100Hz

Haier’s vision for the future

• Built-in Freeview HD

An ultra-thin frame is good but an invisible screen is better. Haier’s prototype TV has ultra-thin edges and an organic screen that is so transparent that it disappears before your eyes when it is switched off. Barely a few millimetres thick, this fantastic 55cm (22 inch) new generation TV offers a glimpse into the future.

• Ultra slim design • USB recording • HDMI ports



Haier UK Head Office

Haier_GC_ad_Sep_2011.indd 1


Tel: 020 8166 4978

*Source: Euromonitor International Limited; retail volume sales in units based on 2010 data.


16/09/2011 15:16


Carrying the future The development of portable CE devices has revolutionised the way consumers enjoy, create and share information, entertainment and images on the move. The category now comprises not only music players but highly sophisticated devices such as Readers and compact, powerful digital imaging products. Sony has taken a powerful position in this market, using its strength in developing and launching new technologies that enhance consumers’ experiences

Walkman® for today



ony pioneered sophisticated on-the-move music with the iconic Walkman® concept, and as the category has moved into MP3 technology Sony has brought great depth to the market with a range of fresh Walkman® models that take full advantage of the digital revolution to deliver style, versatility, access to content and superb quality sound. There is something for everyone in Sony’s Walkman® 2011 range, which promises a richer, more satisfying audio (and video) experience. From the superlative audio quality of the Walkman® A860 series to the colourful style and fun features of the Walkman® E460 series, retailers have a golden opportunity to stock the perfect lineup of MP3 and video MP3 players within the trusted Sony brand. The Walkman® A860, S760 and E460 series share a striking new design and feature generous battery life for longer listening. All three models come supplied with MediaGo software for easy drag-and-drop transfer of music, videos and photos from Windows® Explorer or iTunes. Unique to Sony, Clear Audio Technologies assure superior sound quality. It’s easy to create themed

music channels with SensMe™ that automatically categorises music tracks into different channels. Other fun features shared by the new models include Karaoke Mode, synchronised lyrics display and a language learning function. A860 and S760models introduce streaming via Bluetooth® to wireless headphones, compatible speaker docks, car audio head units and other devices. Bluetooth® connectivity on Walkman® A860 and S760 also lets you wirelessly share stored personal photos with compatible mobile phones. With advanced technology, sound quality and versatility assured, Sony’s latest Walkman® ranges also deliver the style, looks and “wearability” that modern consumers demand.

Reading the future Sony has also developed its presence in the burgeoning e-Reader market with a range of stylish models including the Touch Edition™, the Pocket Edition™ and the recently announced WiFi®. Sony technology has created a range of Readers that are very user-friendly. They are all light, slim and intuitive, and designed first and foremost for hours of comfortable THE NWZE460: A WALKMAN FOR TODAY’S LIFESTYLE






reading, even in direct sunlight, on a glare-free, paper-like display. With adjustable font sizes and types, contrast and brightness, the screen can be fine-tuned to perfectly suit individual taste. With finger-tip page turning, zoom in or out facility and the ability to call up any of 12 dictionaries, the Sony Reader™ delivers a reading experience as easy and comfortable as a traditional paperback, but with the added benefits of a whole library available on the move in a single portable device. The recently-announced Reader™ WiFi® comes in three bold colours, and is the lightest reader around with a 6” screen – lighter than most paperbacks in fact. It will enhance access to content with the ability to buy, borrow or get eBooks for free wherever there’s a wireless connection available, and retailers can also benefit from stocking a range of custom-made Sony Reader™ accessories. The growth in the e-Reader market is likely to continue as more and more consumers discover the benefits, and are shown that the screen is as easy to read – in all light conditions – as a printed paper page. For retailers, offering a hands-on demonstration of readability in differing light conditions, and the ease with which content can be accessed and manipulated, is the key to success.

Sony also has a high reputation in compact cameras, and in July launched the DSC-TX55, the thinnest compact camera on the market featuring Full HD video recording, new Picture Effects software (also available on D-SLR and NEX models), Sweep Panorama and 3D capability.

New dimensions in movies Handycam has also seen some exciting developments this year with the introduction of the HDR-TD10 3D Handycam. It employs an integrated dual lens system with double Sony G Lenses, double “Exmor R” CMOS sensors, and double “BIONZ” image processors. “This camcorder,” says Rachel Banin, “offers up brand new possibilities for budding filmmakers and a future-proof solution for families who may want to enjoy seeing themselves in 3D at home.”

Exceptional image quality for all users Sony has a very distinguished track record in the development of digital imaging technologies, and now has an extremely strong lineup across the whole range fromDSLRs, compact system cameras, in the form of the new NEX range , digital still cameras and camcorders. Synergy of technological development across the range such as the development of Sony’ Exmor sensor and Bionz processor technology for exceptional performance in low light and capturing high speed images, together with developing the NEX camera range, the most adaptable compact system camera in the market place, by increasing the lens possibilities and raising the bar for the compact system camera with 3 innovative new models for the second half of 2011.

Another first for Sony is the HDR-PJ30VE with a projector built into the 3-inch LCD panel, maintaining the camcorder’s compact size, yet allowing video and images to be projected at up to 60” (diagonally) onto walls, ceilings, or other flat surfaces. No wires needed to share, and even a large group of people can enjoy great quality footage anywhere.

The Translucent Mirror breakthrough

Maximise the opportunities

The development of the Translucent Mirror is a technology exclusive to Sony, and brings new versatility to the SLR format. New SLT models with Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology deliver high-speed, uninterrupted continuous Auto Focus for still image capture at up to 10 frames per second and Hi Definition movie shooting.

It’s really important that retailers find out why the consumer is looking to make a purchase, are they looking for a Handycam with a large internal memory to capture that once in a lifetime holiday. Or, are they looking for Reader for their daily commute. Once the retailer has this information they can explain the benefits of certain products and bring them to life by showing how they can help enhance the consumer’s experience. There are various ways of demonstrating and bringing products to life, in addition to a hand’s on experience retailers should make use of the POS kits created by manufacturers that explain product benefits. It’s also good to have TVs in the Digital Imaging areas in-store to show HD and 3D content. And, make sure that Reader and Walkman products are powered up.


Sony’s NEX camera range opens the market to consumers who want the image quality of a D-SLR product in a compact format. Siting the NEX alongside the DSLR and compact ranges emphasizes its convenient size, and handson demonstration gives an impressive sample of its ability to achieve the creative picture effects previously confined to SLR cameras.


NEX: High quality in a compact format




DAB: a question of time The progress of DAB radio in the UK has been dogged by a certain amount of confusion, conflicting information and unrealistic timetables, which have tended to generate some opposition – more or less unfounded – from sections of the radio listening public. But digital radio is firmly established, it is growing, and will continue to offer outstanding retail opportunities.


AB radio is already in well over a third of many listeners have for both content UK homes, and cumulative sales of DAB and hardware, it was probably a radios had exceeded 12 million units by mistake for the Government to the first quarter of this year. It looks like a clear specify 2015 as a “target” date for case of a natural shift from analogue to digital. analogue switch-off. In hindsight it DAB RADIOS DOMINATE THE PORTABLES MARKET BY VALUE As Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital Radio was never realistic, and subsequent UK, said earlier this year: “Digital radio is not backpedalling and attempted be access to a whole new world of exciting, interesting a niche, minority interest, it is mainstream.” explanations that it was only a “target” and content that only DAB can achieve. Nobody in the industry would seriously never meant to be any kind of deadline, created It’s a big – and probably quite time-consuming contest that view now, but manufacturers, and opposition in a significant minority of the – task, but there is little doubt that it’s a clear case of those charged with the UK’s radiophiles. “when” rather than “if.” In the meantime, to put things task of educating, The result is that in perspective for retailers, GfK reports in its volume informing and nobody now is statistics that 58.2% of the portable radios sold in the persuading the British prepared to put a UK are DAB receivers, but a still extremely substantial public towards the definite date – or 41.8% of portable units sold are non-DAB. It seems eventual goal of an even more than a that getting on for half of portable radio buyers see no analogue “switch-off ”, broad estimate – on reason – either for the sake of access to digital content, have had to recognize when the cessation sound quality or simple “future-proofing” – to buy a that the British of analogue radio ROBERTS’ COLOURSTREAM WITH DOCKING FACILITY DAB radio. public’s relationship broadcasts will be with radio is not the same accomplished. Ford as with TV, and the “migration” from analogue to Ennals, for example, says: “My own view is that the “There is a lot of work digital can never be the reasonably orderly, timetabled switchover could happen in the next five years and and inexorable process that digital TV will soon have certainly within ten years.” to do, and we should completed in the UK. Leading manufacturers of DAB radios do not hold not force the issue on Given the multiple ownership of radios in the a uniform view of the future either. Owen Watters, majority of UK households (conservative estimates put sales and marketing director at Roberts Radio, said consumers” the total number of analogue radios in UK homes and earlier this year that “although DAB is the future of cars at 100 to 150 million), the numbers of household radio, 2015 is not realistic. There is a lot of work to do For retailers, a clearer understanding of why this consumer electronics devices which contain a radio and we should not force the issue upon consumers.” should be, and also a clear incentive to encourage receiver, and the almost emotional attachment which Pure’s director of marketing Colin Crawford believed in purchase of DAB radios, is contained in the GfK value March this year that the 2015 target is “a real challenge, statistics for portable radios during the same period: but just about achievable if everyone (broadcasters, 85.8% of portable radios sold by value are DAB receivers; government, manufacturers and retailers) actually all just 16.2% by value are non-DAB. pull in the same direction and stop arguing in public.” While DAB radios cost more – which on the Argumentative or not, all parties do seem to have statistics above they clearly do – and listeners are not accepted that the process – “migration”, as Roberts’ being persuaded to look at the added benefits of DAB, chief executive Leslie Burrage prefers to call it – to there will be no reason for them to make the change. analogue switch-off has to be “consumer-led.” That The industry – and at the sharp end, the retailers – have means that those who want the majority of the UK work to do here. public to embrace DAB as a benefit have to deliver In the meantime, Internet radio with a massive compelling reasons why they should. They have to choice of content worldwide, and cloud-based systems, convince the public that DAB can deliver what they are making their appearance in the UK radio landscape. already know and love about analogue radio, plus As GfK says, “indirect stimulus [to sales of digital radio] further benefits that make the switch worthwhile. PURE’S EVOKE MIO WITH ORLA will arrive when DAB is featured in products that also And that means, above all, convincing radio listeners KIELY DESIGNER TOUCH offer docking and wireless streaming.” that nothing will be taken away, and that there will



“Dyson engineers have developed a heater that produces no smell and heats the whole room” Progress The fires market has been driven in recent years by innovation in flame effects and the introduction of striking new designs such as the contemporary-styled Dimplex Bingham (pictured page 26), which has a clear glass casing providing a three-way view of the brand’s Opti-myst flame and smoke effects. Stammers also notes that the market for stoves – “a category particularly ideal for electrical retailers” – has seen significant growth, increasing by 23% in recent months, “and the rise of contemporary fire designs over the past ten years or so has led to replacement purchases long before the old fire has reached the end of its useful life.


A slow housing market and declining consumer appetite for redecorating projects has dampened the market for electric focal point fires, but sales of portable heating products have produced a significant boost for the total Electric Heating sector.


inter’s onset and the promise of Christmas stir a deep-seated need for basic home comforts, with rising consciousness of the season’s pleasures evoking powerful images of lazy evenings spent in front of the fire in the ambient glow that transforms both mood and surroundings…. But this is the ‘great depression’, and the meaning of need as opposed to want has become well and truly understood by a hard-pressed public. While physical warmth is a fundamental need, the purchase of a major household item for the purpose of creating a heartwarming sensation is an unnecessary want, as can be seen in the recent performance of the electric fires and portable heating markets. According to GfK’s Seema Baines, fires – traditionally the major driver of value in the electric heating market – declined in volume sales by 3.14% in the twelve months ended August 2011, while at the same time, average price fell 2.9%. She points out that sales are, of course, tied closely to the housing market, and the sector has suffered because fewer people are moving house and/or indulging

in redecorating projects due to the squeeze on disposable incomes and falling levels of consumer confidence. Conversely, the total electric heating market, which Baines characterises as “once dominated by expensive electric fires,” has experienced considerable growth as the UK is slowly moving towards smaller, more portable products. “In the twelve months ended August 2011, the total market grew by 7.89% in volume compared to the twelve months ended August 2010. However, over the same period the average price paid for an electric heating product declined by 3.95% from circa £48 to around £45.” Baines explains that the downward movement in price can be attributed to changes in the type of products being purchased. But Chris Stammers, marketing director for trade and independents at Dimplex, reminds us that the UK high street market for fires is currently estimated to be worth around £50 million, with in excess of 400,000 units sold, so it would be fair to say that the sector still offers plenty of scope for good retailers prepared to display products and promote their benefits to the full.

“The Opti-myst flame effect has been our major success story in recent years,” he adds. “Trade and consumers alike rate Dimplex’s patented flame effects as the most realistic in the world and our sales reflect this: Dimplexbranded fires consistently dominate the list of the UK’s top ten sellers, according to GfK figures.” Lifestyle trends and interior design styles have also influenced the market for electric fires. As the minimalist movement spread, so too did the demand for pebble beds, water effects and ‘big screen’ focal points, and products were purchased not necessarily as heating units but as a statement of style, in some instances displacing the flat-screen TV to regain their rightful status in the home. Secondly, the greater movement towards open-plan living brought the focal point fire into the kitchen as products styled with the same aesthetic as major domestic appliance ranges came onto the market.

Touching on gas


Cheers for the fans

In 2007, Smeg launched a range of gas fires to complement its retro-style FAB appliances and, according to Product Development and Training Manager Joan Fraser, these flush-to-the-wall, flueless models continue to grow in popularity. Consumers can change the look of their fire according to the season or occasion as the frames can be changed



“Trade and consumers alike rate Dimplex’s patented flame effects as the most realistic in the world...”


easily, with 7 colours now available to match mood or décor. Fraser also highlights the brand’s Linea and Classic fires which co-ordinate with the range of products in their respective built-in appliance families, “ensuring a seamless look for open-plan living where the kitchen flows into the dining or living area.” For retailers, she says: “Selling a range of fires which sit happily alongside Smeg built-in appliances provides a perfect opportunity to increase revenue by extending the sale.” For the energy-conscious, she adds: “Smeg fires convert 100% of the gas to heat, unlike open or coal fires, so they are much more efficient at heating the home, reducing gas bills by up to 75% when compared to conventional gas fires.”



Portable heating If there is one unpredictable facet of life in Britain, it is the weather. Many years of extraordinarily mild winters interspersed with cold snaps have more recently given way to bouts of heavy snow and consistently freezing temperatures – a climate reminiscent of the late ‘70s. The downside of such harsh weather conditions is the ensuing chaos that keeps consumers off the roads and away from the high street, but the upside for electrical retailers is highlighted by Dimplex’s Stammers: “After the last two very hard winters, portable heaters are performing particularly well,” he says.


GfK’s Baines notes in particular the growth in fan heaters, which rose by 13.5% in the year to August 2011. In the same time period, the average price paid for products increased by 5.45%. “As a result,” she advises, “the value of the category rose by nearly 20%. Consumers are increasingly moving towards higher quality portable heaters as an alternative to heating their homes.” The sentiment is echoed by Stammers, who, while noting that portables are still in many cases a distress purchase, has identified an economyinduced trend for households to switch central heating systems off for periods, preferring instead to use a portable heater to warm the room of the home being used. “The fast warm-up on fan heaters is ideal for this,” he says.

New development New to this particular category of portable heating this season is a product that should raise the profile of the humble fan heater: the Dyson Hot™ bladeless model, launched mid September, incorporates the company’s patented Air Multiplier™ technology and retails for the princely sum of £269.99. The product has the type of iconic design style synonymous with the Dyson brand and is claimed to be the fastest appliance for heating a room evenly.

Company founder James Dyson contends that “other fan heaters rely on inefficient motors or dust-friendly grills. As the heat rises you’re left with a partially heated room and a worrying burning smell. Dyson engineers have developed a heater that produces no smell and heats the whole room.” The Dyson Hot™ can be set between 1 and 37 degrees Celsius and will automatically monitor and maintain the selected temperature. The outside surface of the unit remains cool while in use and there are no visible heating elements, so it is extremely safe to use in the day-to-day living environment. Automatic cut-out kicks in if the appliance is tipped over. Turning the Dyson Hot™ on and off, adjusting temperature, airflow rate and controlling oscillation can be carried out using the controls on the front of the unit or via a remote control which is curved and magnetised to store neatly on top of the machine. An added bonus is that this is a dual function appliance, operating as a high airflow and velocity cooling fan, too.

Alternative heating The traditional use of portable heating products as supplementary heating for garages, conservatories, home offices and extensions continues to enhance the overall market. Stammers points out that oil-free products “with their high levels of performance and economy,” are particularly popular. “In addition to the environmental benefits, consumers recognise the correlation between efficient performance and lower running costs. Plus, oil-free products have a very fast warm-up time, giving the instant heat which is a ‘must have’ for many people.”

Open 6 days a week Domestic Appliance Distributors are your home goods specialist. We are a major distributor of domestic appliances and electronic goods throughout the UK. It is our job to bring you the newest appliances at the lowest prices. We stock the latest brands and continue to offer expert and friendly advice to our customers. We pride ourselves with offering the best prices with the best service.

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Profile for Get Connected Magazine

Get Connected: October 2011  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry

Get Connected: October 2011  

Get Connected: The Magazine of the Electrical Industry