Retailer: “Can I interest you in two cleaning appliances that will aid you in your weekly chores and save you time, energy and money?” Consumer: “Absolutely not. l like using an extra 7,000 litres of water a year washing up by hand, paying for the energy to heat the water and I’ll divide my laundry into small piles to create more workloads.”
Likelihood of this answer? Pretty slim. So it`s easy to see why larger capacity dishwashers and laundry appliances, which take up no more room than a standard capacity appliance are becoming increasingly popular and set to take the market by storm. Whirlpool’s product marketing manages; Dean McKelvie comments: “Larger capacity has been avidly developed by all manufacturers over the last three years, and very cleverly within a standard 600mm footprint.”
Setting new standards
While the 6kg washing machine is still holding its throne, taking a 35.2% market share by volume, GfK Hgures show the decline accelerating and is currently at -10%. The sales story is in 7kg and larger capacities, which are picking up fast. ln fact, many industry experts believe that 7kg capacity is the new standard. Whirlpool suggests the 7kg market has displayed a +22.8% volume growth, taking its market share to 30.4% and the 8kg and 9kg markets are also moving positively, with performances of +4.2% and +64.2% respectively. And Beko agrees, reporting its growth in washing machines is coming from larger capacity models with its 9kg models increasing by 85%, 8kg by 18% and 7kg by 45%.
Now enter the dishwasher market; currently displaying a record penetration within the UK of an estimated 37%, according to Beko. Although still less than our European neighbours, who boast a tigure over 50%, the UK seems to finally be catching on. According to GfK fgures, the dishwasher market has shown a 3.7% increase in volume and 4.1% in value. And the capacity for these appliances is increasing too, with up to 17-place settings now available.
Realising the benefits
The positive figures for both dishwashers and washing machines show consumers are cottoning on to the fact that a larger capacity appliance has huge benefits for them. Not only are they time saving, as they can wash more, but they are also energy saving and money saving at the same time.
And Richard Walken sales and marketing director of De Dietrich Kitchen Appliances, says: “Pound for pound, it makes economic sense to purchase a larger capacity machine as consumers can wash more, but less often thus making savings in terms of waten energy and even detergent. For families with young children, a larger capacity machine makes ultimate sense, as more can be washed in less time, thus saving time; another precious commodity.”
Any size household
But a large capacity dishwasher or washing machine isn’t just beneficial for family households. Single-person households can also reap the rewards. Most of the cleaning appliances have half load programmes or are electronically controlled; enabling them to sense the load and make sure only the necessary water or energy is used.
Dean McKelvie of Whirlpool, comments: “The size of the family is not the issue. It is understanding the benefits that a larger capacity machine brings to any size of household. The ability to wash larger loads is an attractive proposition for most, whatever the size of the family. However it is important to remember that the machine will wash as many larger loads as you wish, but it will also wash smaller loads very economically too, where the control process is electronic.”
Performance also matters
But while bigger is clearly betten capacity isn’t the only factor: Washing machines now have everything from handwash and bedding programmes to memory functions. And dishwashers have foldable racks left, right and centre, to make loading large items easier According to Joe Oram, product manager for laundry at Samsung UK and Ireland: “Size plays a key factor when purchasing a new laundry appliance, howeven a consumer’s individual preference for style, function and flexibility, as well as their budget and the space in their home are also important considerations.”
The variety of programmes a washing machine offers is also important to consider Rita Balestrazzi, marketing manager for Baumatic explains: “Whilst consumers are undoubtedly enjoying the availability of larger-sized capacity appliances, they are also discovering the benehts of the more advanced technology that often comes with this kind of appliance. Large load washing machines have a greater range of programmes, which often include more specialist wash options for specific fabrics, such as sportswear and lycra, as well as for fabrics that require a more intensive wash and soak. Such models can provide customised wash options as well as a Memory button, which serves to recall the exact wash conditions from the previous wash cycle. Dishwashers with larger place settings also often provide a greater range of programmes, which include intensive wash options to scrub off hardened food, specialist wash options, as well as rapid wash programmes that can wash dishes in as little as 35 minutes.”
Encouraging trade up
Add energy efficiency to this growing must-have list and it seems the larger capacity appliances are a perfect opportunity to encourage consumers to trade up. It doesn’t take a clued-up consumer to figure out that fewer washes, means less energy and water usage. However; even the most knowledgable consumers run into problems when translating the energy label on the front of the appliances into hard cash savings.
As Steve Macdonald, marketing director of Hoover Candy, explains: “It isn’t immediately obvious from looking at a machine that it is energy efficient, but it would be beneficial for retailers to explain the time and money savings that consumers can make with these products. The subject of water conservation is very topical and retailers are in a really good position to help consumers understand some of the financial benefits of choosing an eco-efficient machine, particularly in homes where a water meter is fitted. Even if consumers don’t have a water meter: there are still considerable savings to be made on electricity costs.”
He adds: “In the dishwasher I market, a popular misconception is that a dishwasher uses more water than washing-up by hand. However: that has been addressed by low water consumption models that are available.”
Reaching maximum capacity
And while it seems the maximum capacity within the standard 600mm has almost been reached, this isn’t to say the development of these cleaning appliances will stop. lndustry experts believe the development will continue in terms of energy efficiency and intelligent programmes, with machines providing greater flexibility and functionality. Bill Miller, sales and marketing director of Gorenje and ATAG, comments: “We are perhaps getting to the maximum capacity for laundry and dishwashing products – or at least the maximum capacity that will still afford a good quality of wash. For this reason, a key area of future development is likely to be that of improving ease of use and ensuring efficiency. A large capacity is highly useful, but it isn’t the only important factor in a product.”
So, make sure you keep up to date with the latest developments to help encourage customers to trade up to these ultra-intelligent cleaning machines. You never know, maybe they will develop a technology to put the dishes and clothes in automatically one of these days.