By Patrick Avenell

Arise the new giant in home appliances: Panasonic. Formerly a company best known for its home entertainment product, specifically plasma TVs, Panasonic is now selling more appliances than it is audio visual equipment.

This revelation was made by Panasonic Australia general manager of marketing Richard Tassone at the launch yesterday of the Japanese company’s new bottom mount refrigerator range.

“Globally, this year, one out of every two Panasonic products sold will be from our whitegoods or home appliance range,” Tassone said. “This is a real milestone for our company — in fact, it is the first time ever that our home appliances has outsold our audio visual products.”

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Tassone said the launch of these new refrigerators was a “new and exciting direction” for Panasonic Australia, as it looks to rebuild the revenue that has been lost to the catastrophic price erosion in the TV category.

For example, over the same 12 month period, GfK reported that plasma TV average sales prices dropped 16 per cent, while bottom mount refrigerators only declined by 4.5 per cent.

Over this same period, the total Australia refrigerator market, worth just under $1 billion annually, declined by 4 per cent over, while the total plasma TV category was decimated: down 26 per cent to $665 million.

“Locally, home appliances are amongst the fastest growing categories and we have seen more growth in the last 12 months than we have seen at any other time,” said Tassone. “To capitalise on this momentum, we have been significantly increasing the number of products Panasonic has in this space. We now have more than 50 different models in the whitegoods and home appliances ranges.”

In addition to the new refrigerators, Panasonic’s whitegoods range includes air conditioners, laundry appliances and a growing cache of smalls.

Both the plasma TV and refrigerator data is for the year ending August 2011.