‘There is a strong appetite for connected well-being products…’
French fitness and well-being brand Terraillon has set its sights on growing its brand presence in the UK and has now added wearable tech to its portfolio. Amie Filcher talks to UK and Ireland trade marketing manager Mark Ryan about its plans
A new name is emerging in the UK wearables and well-being market – Terraillon from France.
The manufacturer of wearable fitness trackers, bathroom and kitchen scales, water filters, babycare and connected well-being products is targeting the UK for growth and launched here last year at the Exclusively Housewares show in London.
Prior to that, it acquired UK-based rival Hanson in 1988, and now claims to have a 50 per cent share of the global scales market. Global turnover topped £37.3 million in 2015.
In 2012, Didier Bollé took over as Terraillon’s chief executive to lead the group’s international expansion plans. He had previously worked with major international brands, including Whirlpool and LG Electronics.
ERT spoke exclusively to UK and Ireland trade marketing manager Mark Ryan to find out how the company has been performing in the UK and its view on the wearables market.
Q: When and why did you enter wearables?
Mark Ryan: We entered the market in 2012, launching our first connected wi-fi body composition analyser scale. Since then, as the technology has evolved, we have been able to launch the only complete product portfolio of connected products to monitor the five key elements of well-being – diet, exercise, body composition, sleep and heart rate. We decided to enter this area for a number of reasons. First, to add value to the kitchen and bathroom scales market, where the average selling price has been in decline. Second, because in our two primary European markets – France and the UK – there is a strong appetite for connected well-being products. And third, we firmly believe that this is the direction the industry is heading.
Q: How is the brand performing in this market?
MR: Really well. Our connected product range has opened doors for the Terraillon brand in leading UK retailers like John Lewis and Currys. Our connected products are at the forefront of our strategy moving forward and we will be continuing to invest significantly in this area.
Q: You recently introduced your products to the UK market. What is your strategy?
MR: At last year’s Exclusively Housewares show, we launched our range of connected items in the UK, spearheaded by the Nutritab – the world’s first connected nutritional kitchen scale. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength with our connected products with listings secured in Argos, John Lewis, Lakeland, Currys and others. Our connected innovations have opened the doors of the UK retailers to us. The UK is our number two market after France.
Q: Are independent retailers important?
MR: We have an office in Hemel Hempstead. Between the Hanson and Terraillon brands, we have been trading with major UK retailers for the past 25 years. Our recent challenge has been to grow the presence and awareness of the Terraillon brand, and a lot of what we are doing to support this is in relation to our connected range. Independent retailers are very important to us. We have a team of agents across the UK that help us to continue and grow our independent business.
Q: What are your views on the connected home? Do you think 2016 is the year of the smart home?
MR: I think the connected home is a very exciting prospect, but I don’t think 2016 is the year of the smart home. I think 2020 is when we will start to see a real takeover and consistent implementation of more and more smart-home devices across the UK.
For me, it’s still too early. Retailers and consumers are adapting to this new trend, and they are doing so quickly. Manufacturers, retailers and consumers still have much to learn to make these products more mainstream.
Q: How is the market for wearables?
MR: Growing, and rapidly. The UK is almost 1.5 times the size of France for wearables and this growth trend is set to continue. We are far from the only brand investing in connected health, and that’s a very positive sign.
Q: You mentioned you are continuing to look at new markets…
MR: For Terraillon, and our connected products, our next main market to break is the USA. We have participated at CES in Las Vegas for the past two years and launched products there. We hope to have a solid market presence in 2017. You can also find our connected product range in retailers in Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Hong Kong.