Home Appliance Companies Offer Hygiene-Focused Products
Adapting to New Consumer Needs
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have flocked to buy products that focus on hygiene, from Clorox (CLX) wipes to phone sanitizers. Now the $500 billion home appliance industry is recognizing this trend and is finding creative ways to adapt products and meet consumers’ needs.
LG Electronics has added sterilizing ultraviolet lights to its refrigerators. Whirlpool Corp (WHR) built washing machines with systems that heat clothes in a particular way to remove germs and allergens. Beko Electrical Appliances recently launched ovens and refrigerators with sanitization drawers. The company also debuted a “cleaning cabinet,” which is a microwave-sized appliance which sanitizes objects like keys and wallets.
A More Successful Strategy than the Smart Home Initiative
The home appliance industry has struggled to get consumers excited about new products in recent years. Companies invested heavily in smart home technology, but most people have shown little interest in paying a premium for appliances that will text them when their laundry is done or track when they are out of eggs with artificial intelligence. Now, however, the trend of appliances that help people live more sanitary lives is gaining traction.
Additionally, consumers are spending more time at home and putting more wear and tear on their dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and other appliances. Some households also have extra cash on hand that they might normally have spent on vacations or other activities. This combination of factors has led many to purchase new appliances this year.
Demand for appliances related to cooking and cleaning has seen the most growth this year. Between mid-March and the end of August, sales of vacuum cleaners, fans, humidifiers, and water filters climbed 32% compared to the same period a year ago. Between May and August, demand for washing machines with purifying steam functions rose by 46% year-over-year.
Analysts expect that the surge in demand for appliances will probably taper off next year, but will still be up by 5% during the first half of 2021. Executives in the home appliance industry will likely study this period of growth for some time to try to come up with strategies to drive demand for new appliances in the future.
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