It appears that talk comes cheap at LG Australia, who last year escaped multimillion dollar fines for misleading consumers for the third time about the performance of their appliances.In an interview with the Australian newspaper, new kid on the block at LG Australia, chief operating officer Mark van Dyck, who joined the company six months ago from Coca-Cola is claiming that LG will knock off arch rival Samsung Australia to take the top spot in consumer electronics in Australia by 2014.
“Let’s see, talk is easy, action and performance is a different thing” said a Samsung Australia executive.
Paul Reid, Director of Consumer Electronics at Panasonic Australia is convinced that Panasonic Australia can grow their share of the Australian consumer electronics market at the expense of LG with new LED TVs, low power IP/3D Plasma TVs, new Lumix camera’s and an expanded range of small appliances.
“We believe we can be competitive with our new line-up of new products that we plan to deliver for the Australian market in 2011.
LG who will have to double the size of its Australian business to reach their 2014 target is going to have to compete against a surging Samsung who will have a new phone range, including a new dual-core processor Galaxy S Smartphone, a new notebook that doubles as a tablet, new wafer thin TVs that are IP and 3G enabled and new appliances. The Korean competitor is also expanding their line-up of digical camera’s and camcorders.
Meanwhile Sony is looking to claw back lost market share with a campaign built around 3D devices including monitors, 3D TVs and 3D enabled camcorders.
Van Dyck told the Australia newspaper: “This year growth has been challenging but we grew in all categories of home entertainment and key categories of home appliances.”
“We want to be the number one consumer electronics company in Australia by 2014, that’s going to require double-digit growth. It will require us to almost double the business over that timeframe.”
What Van Dyck has not explained is whether LG Australia is looking to “buy share” as one competitor said or genuinely grow share.
Last year LG reported a $13K profit on nearly a billion dollars turnover in Australia.
Van Dyck who has no prior knowledge in the consumer electronics market, said that LG still plans to market itself under the “Life’s Good” advertising slogan which was developed in Australia by former marketing director Paul Reeves.
Van Dyck told the Australian that LG’s washing machine business had grown 20 per cent last year, pushing it to the top spot. “In vacuum cleaners, we’re still not nearly where we should be,” he says.
In television LG Australia is gearing up for a multi-million-dollar marketing push in April to launch its new SmartTV internet TV platform. Yesterday LG announced an additional seven TV channels for LG TV owners via BigPond TV and the use of Widevine streaming technology which is able to identify the appropriate video quality to stream based on bandwidth available at the destination device.
The BigPond Movie service was already on offer to LG customers, giving them the ability to stream movies direct to their TV and AV devices.
Van Dyck claimed that connected televisions will be a growth driver for the company. 3D TV, which was a focus for most TV companies at last year’s CES, is still on offer. LG has a new technology called Cinema 3D available in some models that is able to be watched with a lighter, cheaper pair of 3D glasses, as well as a glasses-free prototype that is about a year away from a retail launch.
“I think the whole Smart TV space will evolve very rapidly over the next two to three years,” Van Dyck told the Australian.
In the Smartphone market where LG has struggled to get shelf space among carriers, with consumers shunning the brand for new Smartphone offerings from Samsung, HTC and of late Motorola, Van Dyke said “In mobile communications we’re about number four,” he says. “It’s my belief we should be able to double that (business).”
He believes that the company’s new Optimus range of smartphones, including the Optimus Black will help LG Australia to get back into the Smartphone race.
Van Dyck says LG is gearing up for a significant increase in marketing activity, almost doubling the size of the marketing team and boosting its $40m-plus advertising spend, particularly online and in-store.