Small is the new BIG
They don’t take up a lot of room and offer good margins. It is hard not to see the appeal of the growing small domestic appliance sector. Simon King offers some ideas
There has never been such an exciting variety of products in the small domestic appliances category and there are plenty of options for any retailer, of any size, to capitalise on this growing sector.
Colour trends remain strong, as consumers strive to represent their own personality through kitchen design, while innovation and new technology is helping the sector grow and thrive.
Smeg’s product manager Lucy King says: “Small appliances are the most profitable items in our product selection. In 2017, we expanded our range to include a variable temperature kettle and the HBF02 hand blender [pictured above].
“These are great access points to the Smeg brand for those who don’t have space or the budget for the larger Smeg appliances. Small appliances are also a great route to accessorising with colours in the kitchen.”
The bean-to-cup coffee machine market has seen tremendous growth, up 30 per cent in value and volume year-on-year, driven by a growing demand for premium homemade coffee.
Consumers are also spending more on their coffee machines, with the average market price rising by one per cent in 2017. They are looking for machines that have more features and offer a wider range of recipes.
In fact, a recent study found that the average UK coffee drinker spends up to £450 a year on hot beverages from high-street coffee operators – proof that we are now living in a coffee society.
Dominik Pytel, marketing director at Groupe SEB, says: “Leading the new Krups line-up is the Evidence range of automatic espresso machines, designed to allow you to treat yourself to an exceptional home coffee experience. With an elegant aesthetic and compact design, Evidence will blend seamlessly with any kitchen.
“Evidence features 15 customisable one-touch drinks – you can even prepare two cappuccinos at once – and as it’s Bluetooth-enabled, too, users can just tap the app to make coffee without leaving the sofa.”
Panasonic says in the SDA category, convenience is key, so multifunctional products are one of the areas enjoying some growth in the current market.
Sammy Dell, Panasonic’s product manager for kitchen appliances, says: “Our new Slimline microwaves have been designed to make a big impact in food preparation, while taking up less time and counter-top space. The Slimline Microwave range boasts a compact design, by moving the fan system from the back of the microwave to the top, which enables a bigger cavity and turntable.
“Families can also benefit from the new Junior Menu built into the advanced Slimline range. The Junior Menu includes eight easy-to-use auto options, which have been designed to speed up cooking time for busy parents and get the most from fresh and healthy recipes. Puréeing fruit and vegetables for babies, defrosting frozen meals, cooking the family’s favourite pasta bake, and perfecting healthy flapjacks for school snacks will no longer be a time-consuming process with the new Slimline microwaves.”
In the floorcare market, cordless vacuum cleaners continued to lead the category in the first quarter of this year and were the success story of 2017. And the market shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Phillip Jones, head of marketing for SDAs at Hoover, says consumers are increasingly focused on convenience, demonstrated by the rise in popularity of meal-kit delivery services such as Hello Fresh and Gousto. People want the experience of creating and enjoying a home-cooked meal, but don’t want to give up their time to research recipes and shop for the ingredients.
“The same can be said for cleaning,” he says. “We know that time is precious, and we’re committed to ensuring our customers can keep their homes clean without having to set aside a large chunk of time to undertake the task and miss spending quality time with their friends or loved ones.”
Mr Jones continues: “This year, we’ve launched the Velocity Evo Cordless, an upright cordless vacuum cleaner that we’re expecting to be a big success. It has the familiarity of a traditional upright, with the benefits of a larger bin and the ease of cordless technology making it perfect for those who are still to be convinced by cordless sticks.
“Throughout the year, we’re launching several new Velocity models, including the Velocity Evo Reach, which has one of the longest cords on the market, with a range of features to demonstrate we’re innovating across all categories.”
Manufacturers have already made leaps and bounds in cordless technology and 2018 will be another year of advances in performance and extended running time. There will be more and more options entering the market to overcome the big issue of time constraints.
In the robotic vacuum cleaner segment, Samsung’s says Powerbot smart robot vacuum cleaner uses a full array of sensors to map a space, remember where it’s cleaned, and detect and work around any obstacles in its way, while automatically adjusting its suction power on different surfaces.
Nick Bevan, head of product management across the home appliance categories at Samsung, says: “Its supporting wi-fi control means that it can be programmed remotely via an app, allowing users to start or stop the machine, schedule cleaning times and check the cleaning history when away from home.”
Sell the benefits
It is vital retailers have well-informed staff to present all of the important features of small appliances. Consumers like to see how the product works and the different ways in which it can be used. Performing detailed demonstrations is extremely important to show the key features and uses to any potential buyer.
Groupe SEB’s Mr Pytel says: “An effective in-store demonstration is key in securing consumer interest and that all important sale. Product knowledge is also vital, particularly products with advanced features such as the new Krups range.
“As you would expect from such a premium brand as Krups, a full in-store merchandising package is available to support sales at point of purchase including menu cards, brochures and counter top display units.”
Retailers should always make use of manufacturer produced sales support tools to assist at point of purchase.
Smeg’s Ms King says: “Our in-store teams deliver key benefits to the end consumer, while also promoting the entire range to increase multiple purchases.
“Consumers want to understand what they are buying and how it works, so it is important for our team to help them with any questions. Lots of our retailers also have other video and display content to support sales.”
Every indication is that the SDA market will continue to do well and retailers that commit to breathtaking, vibrant displays and inspiring demonstrations will make the most of this potentially lucrative sector.
‘CIH tips SDAs as big sellers and debuts Linsar range’
James Aldridge, SDA buyer at buying group CIH, says he expects coloured SDAs to continue to be big sellers in 2018
SDAs can make ideal gifts and add a splash of colour to the kitchen. Euronics has recently launched an exclusive new range of small domestic appliances from Linsar. This includes a collection of kettles and matching toasters, available exclusively to Euronics agents.
The Linsar range on offer includes a two-slice toaster and two cordless kettles, including a pyramid and a jug model. They are available in a modern satin finish of red, green, blue, white, cream or black, appealing to a number of styles and tastes. All three appliances benefit from a three-year warranty.
Mr Aldridge says it’s key that retailers make the most of the SDA category.
He says: “Consumers will be checking competitor prices on the internet while in store, also known as ‘showrooming’. It is very difficult to compete with this, however, the independent retailer has something the internet cannot offer – excellent customer service.
“Euronics agents can also benefit from an in-store price match guarantee, available across a range of small domestic appliances. Furthermore, Euronics agents have access to a large database of appliances, which they can order and personally deliver to the customer.”
Mr Aldridge adds: “It is important for the retailer to find out what the customer likes and dislikes about their current appliance, how often they use it and what features they find most beneficial. This will help the retailer to suggest an appliance that is most suitable.
“Take the time to make sure all items are clearly visible, attractively displayed and within reach. Ensure the p-o-s is up-to-date and correctly positioned to alert the customer to the product information.”