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.

Jeremy Sargeant is the general manager of Breville Australia, owners of the Breville and Kambrook brands and distributor of Philips products. He says consumers do have money to spend but they are very discerning, so your offer has to be compelling.

Jeremy Sargeant
Innovation is essential: Jeremy Sargeant.

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

Business has been a little patchy with some categories performing better than others. Overall, we are very pleased with the performance of our three brands, Breville, Kambrook and Philips. We have continued to invest in driving growth across a broad range of categories and our strong share of business and market share gains have been reflected by this approach.

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

I don’t see any real change to the current business or consumer sentiment and believe that the brands that have something to offer and work hard at engaging the consumer will benefit in sales growth and higher average selling prices.

Consumers have money to spend but are far more discerning with their purchases than they were perhaps five years ago, and they need a compelling reason to buy before they will take the plunge. Category competition will continue to intensify, but good brands with true innovation and strong communication plans will win through.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

The electrical industry has the opportunity to win the hearts and minds of consumers with real innovation and engaging communication. As an industry we are well placed to prosper in a market competing for the discretionary spend. If we focus on product education, training and providing real service to the consumers the rewards should follow.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

The threats are varied and wide, but we should see any competing industry as a threat as the consumer dollar will only stretch so far. We do have the advantage of being at the forefront of technology, which is always exciting because of the consumer’s insatiable appetite for newness.

What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?

In Breville, the release of our super blender, the Boss, is very exciting. This super blender can produce the most delicious and healthy green smoothies, make soup in six minutes and turn peanuts into the smoothest and creamiest peanut butter. It’s taken the category to new heights at a RRP of $999.

I would like to wish our retail partners every success for the remainder of 2014.

Breville The Boss
Breville’s The Boss (RRP $999).