Connected appliances are “the new industrial revolution”, according to Candy Group chief executive Beppe Fumagalli.
Speaking at this year’s IFA show in Berlin, he outlined the company’s vision for the future, which included a huge focus on smart-home appliances.
At the Hoover Candy press conference, Mr Fumagalli told delegates: “We are looking at smart appliances in a very big way, because we believe that they are the new industrial revolution in white goods.
“The expected adoption of connected products in the home is going to be huge and we are starting from zero – there is a huge gap in the market that we want to fill and we believe this can be done in the next four to five years. We are expecting a quick evolution in this direction and we are going to be one of the groups that is leading this trend.”
Mr Fumagalli said that in the 10 main countries in Europe, including the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Russia, the Candy Group had achieved 80 per cent of the smart [connected] washing machine market in the first half of 2017 – eight out of 10 smart washing machines sold are from the Candy Group.
The company used IFA to unveil its top-of-the-range Candy Bianca 10kg A+++ smart freestanding washing machine – the BWM1410PH7.
Said Mr Fumagalli: “We want to be the one that is going to help the consumer switch to smart appliances.
“In the first quarter of 2017, our market share [of connected appliances] was 64 per cent – we are developing fast. We believe that, in the future, the value of the company will be very much related to the number of connected users. Within the next year, we are going to have approximately more than one million users who will be connected to us with smart appliances.”
At IFA, Hoover launched its ‘kitchen of the future’, which will come to market in 2018.
Said Mr Fumagalli: “It is a completely new concept – a kitchen ecosystem where the products are interactive. The integrated system will tell you what you have in your fridge and what recipes you can make with the contents.”
He added that the kitchen of the future would work with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – it will know and learn users’ habits.
Mr Fumagalli said: “Interaction between the user and the kitchen can be done through a smartphone and a tablet or through voice – we believe voice is the most natural way to interact with domestic appliances and home systems.”
Visitors to the Hoover Candy IFA stand could also interact with the kitchen of the future by using a VR experience.
Commenting on business in general, Mr Fumagalli, said that the Candy Group was the fastest-growing domestic appliance company in Europe.
In 2016, the Candy Group’s turnover was €1.03 billion – a 10 per cent growth in sales.
Said Mr Fumagalli: “Built-in is the fastest-growing business inside the Candy Group – we have been developing at the speed of 25 per cent each year over the past three years. It is becoming a very important part of our strategy.”
He added: “We are a company that is developing faster than most of our competitors – this is because we have a vision of transforming the world. It is quite an aggressive statement.
“There are very specific parts of the market that we want to be in and in those markets we want to be bigger. We can do it, because we are sure that our brands and our technologies are able to compete in those segments and generate value for the consumer.”
Mr Fumagalli identified those key markets as washing, built-in, SDA and connected appliances.
- Main image: Hoover VR experience at IFA