Influencers 2014: LG talks growth in appliances, low consumer confidence and the best smartphone ever

Welcome to Influencers, our annual series that speaks with the heads of retailers, suppliers and industry bodies to find out what is happening in appliances and electronics and how different companies are shaping its future.

Lambro Skropidis is general manager — marketing at LG Electronics. The Korean giant is experiencing something of a renaissance in Australia, re-entering several categories and now playing at the premium end of the ultra-competitive smartphone market. Let’s find out what’s been happening.

Growth: Lambro Skropidis.

High-end growth: Lambro Skropidis.

How has the first half of 2014 been for your business?

We have seen some markets grow in 2014, especially year-to-date in the high-value 4K Ultra HD TV segment. This segment accounts for over 6 per cent of the LCD TV market, which is ahead of the market average and is bringing high value sales to our business.

We are also pleased to see growth in the bottom mount refrigerator segment, which continues to grow year on year. Similarly, we are happy with the fast start to 2014 in the washing machine market, with year-to-date share up significantly on 2013.

What are your predictions for the second half of the year?

We expect to see recovery in the TV market on the back of continued growth in the 4K Ultra HD TV and OLED segments. We also expect to see growth in the wearable technology markets with the launch of products such as LG’s Lifeband Touch. The AV segment is also expected to do well through greater penetration of sound bars and wireless speaker systems.

LG also expects to see growth in the mobile category with the impending Australian launch of its best smartphone to date, the LG G3.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

There is an opportunity to achieve higher ASP sales by trading consumers up to higher end technologies. For example, value in the home appliances categories could be by increased by trading customers up to larger capacity products such as refrigerators and washing machines.

There is also an opportunity to increase incremental volume by steering people towards companion products such as smart watches, health bands, soundbars and wireless speaker systems. Similarly, opportunities exist for incremental vacuum cleaner sales by positioning products such as robotic and stick vacuums as second and third vacuums in the house.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

The main threat is the lack of consumer confidence. With confusion around new technologies that exist, there is the possibility that this may lead to purchase postponements.

There is also the chance that market saturation in some segments could stall growth, particularly in long purchase cycle categories. To combat these factors, new tactics such as growing high ASP sales need to be adopted in order to increase market value.

What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?

It is hard to name just one. Having had a chance to play with the LG G3 before its impending local launch, I believe it is the best smartphone that has ever come to Australia. I also like our new Lifeband product. Wearable devices are a fun and rapidly growing new segment. Not only do wearable devices add value to existing smartphone technology, they also help to personally keep you healthy.

Best smartphone ever: LG G3.

Best smartphone ever: LG G3.

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