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LG On Appliance Prowl in OZ

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 09/04/2013

LG reveals appliances focus for 2013 as it looks to expand its marketshare into new categories.

Ambitious Korean electronics giant is looking to gain new ground in appliances as it revealed LG is now king of the refridgeration market Down Under, since last month.

And it's got similar domination plans for other appliance categories including microwaves and dishwashers, while maintaining its top spot in the washer market.

Head of Marketing, Lambro Skropidis said as LG revealed seven new SmartWashers for the Aussie market, launched at The Ivy in Sydney yesterday, including  10kg and 8kg front loaders, a deep 10kg top loader and combo washer/dryer.

By 2004 LG was the number one front loader brand, but it "was destined for better things," and by 2010 outright market leader in Oz, Skropidis said as he tracked LG ascendance in the Aussie washing machine market.

It's the smart washer, stupid

Over 822,000 washers were sold in Australia in 2012 - the market's worth over half a billion dollars, noted Skropidis alluding to "fierce competition" which drove prices down and led to market value decline of 4% last year following a rather flat 2011. 

With the market decline, the onus is on market leader to drive washers value, said Skropidis.

"Today in Australia LG has a different vision... With leadership comes responsibility... Our role for retailers is to build that category, our role for consumers is to innovate, set the pace."

LG says its Smartwashers have "all the features consumers are asking for [capacity, clean, control and care]...but in the one machine".

They also boast smart diagnosis, "the only brand to do so" and steam clean function.

Described as the "next evolution of washing machines," the slew of new SmartWashers which LG insists will help it maintain the edge over rivals, dont have WiFi, which rival Samsung is tipped to launch on its washers here later this year.

"But size does matter, consumers have steadily been trading up to bigger and better washing machines. Machines 5kg or less have practically disappeared," notes LG head of marketing and demand for top/front loaders now almost 50/50, with front loaders now gaining ground on the once dominant top washer.

Consumers also seek value but are prepared to pay for it and trends in washers are pointing towards bigger and better machines - 1 in 5 sell for over $1000 and this is "set to grow in the next few years," said Skropidis. 

LG gospel

LG also confirmed its "esteemed brand ambassador" Georgie Parker will again be 'spreading the LG gospel' in 2013 including ads for dishwashers, washers, TV commercials and point of sale material, although was absent from yesterday's launch.

It's a continuation of the dishwasher campaign running for a year now, and is continuing to "build out brand image and drive consumer consideration," said LG head of marketing.

Results from the campaign past year were "quite spectacular". LG have attributed their "fun" TV ads for now taking market lead in refrigeration category in March 2013 - up from No. 4 in August 2012.

"Hopefully we' ll continue this momentum," said its Head of Marketing.

"With the right prod and comms and industry support, we believe we can continue to grow our brand in each of the categories we play in," including microwaves, air conditioners and LG plans to push these with more Georgie backed ads.

Mystery launch

Dishwashers, washing machines and fridges will be LG's main focus in the appliance field in 2013, Philip Anderson, LG Head of PR confirmed to CN, although noted its home entertainment category is still its biggest area, and hinted there was something "very exciting" in the TV category very soon (we suspect an OLED or a variation of 4K Ultra High Def screen size - LG currently sells an 84" here).

In terms of retail support, LG new SmartWashers will have instore bunting, brochures and marketing campaign to drive awareness of the new smart washers and will also be running a $150 cashback offer for consumers, LG appliance execs told us yesterday.

But is LG falling behind by not having WiFi built into washers? Samsung last week revealed it will launch a WiFi enabled machine soon.

"Certainty in the future, we hope so. We want to tell the connected story." Philip Anderson, LG Head of PR told Smart House at today's event, noting its rival Samsung "tried to tell that connected story, but failed to do so in a compelling way."

Anderson insists smart diagnosis feature on the new smartwashers feature is the first step towards WiFi enabled machines. 

"It's all about demand," he added.

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