A collapse, a recall and a bladeless fan dominate news in 2009

Compiled by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Whilst whitegoods are not generally considered to be the sexiest products in the world of consumer electronics, they do form the backbone of this industry. At the most fundamental level, consumers need a refrigerator, oven and washing machine more than they do a TV, Blu-ray player or notebook computer. So, despite not being the most glamorous of categories, whitegoods still kept readers’ attention right throughout 2009.

Whilst the biggest whitegoods story of the year might have been the collapse of Kleenmaid, it wasn’t the highest rating story on Current.com.au this year. A combination of a clever headline and a good cause propelled Lights Out for Sharp Australia to the top of the charts. No, Sharp wasn’t closing down, it was just resting the lightbulbs one night to help the environment.

The second biggest story in home appliance was the release of the revolutionary Dyson Air Multiplier. Known as the bladeless fan, Dyson flew in the venerable Sir James to launch this eye-catching seasonal product at the swanky Ivy nightclub in Sydney. Dyson vacuums are a leading value player in floorcare, and retailer interest has been exceptional for this product that’s looking to recreate that form.

Electrolux is an iconic brand in Australia, so it wasn’t a big surprise to see its name up in lights in 2009. Unfortunately for the appliance specialist, the biggest Electrolux story of the year, and the third overall, was the recall of almost 200,000 faulty washing machines. Interest in this story has been phenomenal, with retailers and consumers logging on to check if their machine is in need of a free service call.

And at fourth is Kleenmaid. When the story first broke, people in the industry were empathetic to the Youngs, thinking they were two honest workers who had succumbed to the recession. Throughout the year, however, we heard some remarkable stories of money wasted and bad decisions made. Unfortunately, there are a lot of good people, both inside and outside the industry, who have suffered from this collapse.

Filling the final place in the top five whitegoods news stories was the Queensland Government’s decision to introduce air conditioning energy standards at a stricter level than the Federal Government’s. This news caused major problems for suppliers, with stock rendered unsellable forced to be shipped to other states for sale. And now South Australia has introduced even tougher energy standards, meaning a lot of this stock needs to be moved again.

Top 5 Whitegoods Stories of 2009

1. It’s Lights Out for Sharp Australia
2. Dyson’s New Air Multiplier: No Blades But a Lot of Fans
3. Electrolux Recalling Almost 200,000 faulty washing machines
4. Kleenmaid Insider Reveals Shocking Truth of Shonky Management
5. Queensland Greenies are a Laughing Stock, Says Air Con Industry

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