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The pandemic has upped the stakes for innovation

22 Jun 2023 |

The pandemic has led to extraordinary sales increases in the consumer electronics and home appliances market. In 2020 and 2021, consumers had focused more on their own homes and on technical equipment for working and teaching at home. These investments in consumer electronics, IT and telecommunications products as well as home appliances are now missing.

That means there is now a higher bar for new products to sufficiently impress consumers and drive replacements or upgrades in times of constrained budgets. This is amplified across products with shorter lifecycles, such as robot vacuum cleaners or personal blenders.

In rethinking both the premium tier and the rest of their portfolio, appliances manufacturers should also reflect on a higher threshold for innovation in appliances in 2023. 

Only truly innovative features that add real value, convenience or elevated performance for consumers, and standout ranges for retailers, will therefore cut through. 

It will also be crucial for manufacturers to tailor product messaging to reflect how products meet these consumer needs.

Shaping innovation pipelines that meet genuine consumer needs

There are a number of high-growth areas that appliances manufacturers can tap into to achieve this. 

  • Performance-enhancing features that increase capacity, not size: This trend is particularly pertinent for markets like China with high population density in certain cities, where living spaces are typically smaller. Examples may include high-specification, but compact, washing machines.  
  • Steam functions: The appeal spans across ovens, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. 
  • Multifunctionality: Providing greater convenience, demand for multipurpose products is particularly strong within SDAs. Examples include stylers with hair-drying attachments and electrical cooking pots with air fryer or baking functions.
  • Health and hygiene: A legacy of the pandemic, health remains a top priority for many consumers. Areas for innovation may include fridge chiller boxes to prolong produce shelf life or air purification appliances. 
  • Climate: Products that tackle the impact of climate change are increasingly in demand. Use data to tap into regional trends here though, with challenges varying by geography. In Asia-Pacific, water filtration and air treatment products are gaining in popularity, while hot and arid summers in Europe have boosted sales of air conditioners and electric fans. 

Want to explore further? Download GfK’s free whitepaper “Secrets to success: a toolkit for appliance manufacturers in 2023

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Based on a new partnership between GfK SE, gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH and IFA Management GmbH, we provide regular information on market developments and trends in the consumer electronics and home appliances industry. Interesting insights, current market figures, consumer trends and much more will be professionally prepared for you from the sources of the three expert partners.

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