Based on direct consumer feedback from Worldpanel’s Comtech Domestic Appliance panel, which surveys 45,000 homes in Europe’s five biggest markets, Kantar has identified the winners in Online, Design & Style, Innovation in Premium, Value, Trustworthiness and Biggest Brand... and also noted the ones to watch.
The 2020 winners are:
- Online: LG
- Design and Style: Samsung
- Innovation in Premium: AEG
- “Value for Me” award: Beko
- Trustworthy: Miele
- Biggest Brand: Bosch
- Ones to Watch: Hisense & Beko
As we know, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt across Europe in many categories and Major Domestic Appliances (MDAs) have not escaped totally unscathed. As lockdown gripped Europe in the spring, the closure of bricks and mortar stores and the disruption to the supply chain had an immediate impact on sales and distribution. However, as people embraced the enforced home experience, the importance of their core household appliances became apparent. Fridges/freezers, ovens, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers all need to function well in order to rise to the challenge of stockpiling and to keep families continuously clean and fed. This has enabled the MDA categories to be fairly resilient to the full impact of the pandemic, with the DA market growing 1% year-on-year (Installed Base).
Online Winner: LG
If there was one area that brands needed to respond to rapidly in 2020 to ensure success, it was digital commerce. Getting every stage of the online consumer purchase journey right was critical when instore retail options shut down literally overnight. Our winner LG managed to increase its EU5 sales online by 50% year on year, which is an impressive feat and deserves recognition. Other contenders who have significantly grown their online sales are Samsung and Hotpoint.
Design & Style Winner: Samsung
For style-conscious consumers, Samsung remains the machine of choice, with 25% of recent Samsung purchasers saying design and style was an important factor in their decision-making process. As a premium purchase this is not necessarily surprising. Samsung has led the way in recent years, with many other brands following its example. Although other brands have seen improvements among consumer opinion (such as LG and Hotpoint), Samsung continues to be out in front as the choice for the design conscious consumer.
Innovation in Premium Winner: AEG
Being seen as an innovative brand amongst premium purchases is a key battle area for brands to convert sales. This year has been very competitive, with lots of brands trying to stake a claim as the most innovative. It is the area in which we see the biggest change by category. Overall, AEG has emerged as the winner with the biggest proportion of its premium purchasers ,19.3%, choosing the brand because of innovation. AEG prides itself on combining form with function, and the integration of intelligent technology with responsive design has resonated with consumers. LG and Samsung follow closely behind.
‘Value for Me’ Winner: Beko
‘Value for Me’ is an incredibly important metric. It is important to remember value is not just about being the cheapest; it is about delivering a great product at a good price. So we have awarded this category to Beko, as 25.4% of its recent purchasers say that ‘value for me’ was the reason for purchase. Its impact has grown significantly across all EU5 markets in all MDA categories. It has also been a brand our ComTech service has been tracking for some time, and we expect we will see a lot more from it over the next couple of years. Siemens and Indesit also register as being good value amongst their consumers.
In a year where consumers surely need to have faith in a brand, the German brands seem to deliver most on this metric. Miele dominates this award, with over 26% of consumers choosing Miele as they wanted a trustworthy and high-quality brand. Siemens and Bosch are similarly trusted brands. Particularly at times of economic and social stress, hallmarks of a strong brand like constancy and trust really come to the fore.
Biggest Brand: Bosch
Overall, across categories and markets in the EU5, Bosch is the most chosen brand, which is reflected in both 2020 sales (13% of total MDA sales) and customers (13% of total market installed base). It is still the brand most people think of when considering any MDA in Europe, and that translates into penetration and sales. Without doubt Bosch is still the brand that delivers in total numbers. Siemens and Hotpoint are also well-established brands with sizeable numbers of current owners in many European households. Beko could be a challenger here in the future, but for now the more established brands will be keeping a keen eye on Samsung as it continues to grow.
Ones To Watch: Hisense & Beko
Hisense is an exciting brand to watch this year. We have seen improvements in penetration and more satisfied customers which will help build on a good installed base through increasing future retention. As a brand it is focusing on Refrigeration & Washing Machine, hitting some key areas such as ‘value for me’ and design & style. Beko also deserves a mention as the brand continues its growth across Europe.
As the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19 on Europe is revealed over coming months, we may see different purchase drivers impacting brand choice. As a relatively affluent region, hopefully in the EU5 there should be resilience for purchasing across the MDA categories. Unfortunately, if the financial hardship in households extends through 2021 we may see price, basic functionality and availability of product driving more decisions rather than innovation and design.
People will also look to strong brands they trust and can rely on to keep their families healthy, fed and clean. However, in view of the recent announcements around vaccine availability, we now have strong reason to be optimistic that behaviours will normalise through the course of next year, and we should be able to look forward to continued innovation in performance and sustainability practises.