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.

Today we visit with Michael Jeanes, managing director at Miele Australia and New Zealand. It’s been a huge 12 months for Miele: the German company has rolled out its new Generation 6000 cooking range and it’s been a big hit.

Strong consumer demand: Michael Jeanes.
Strong consumer demand: Michael Jeanes.

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

We have once again experienced good, above market growth across all categories and channels. Following the launch of our entirely new cooking range in 2013 and 2014, we are riding a wave of innovation and strong consumer demand. We see this continuing for at least two years as our total product range is further enhanced.

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

Typically, the second half of a year is always stronger for Miele. We find that the renovation, new home market and our long term independent retailers really get into a good stride from September to complete our customers’ kitchen and laundry projects. This year will be even stronger and we are prepared for this. Our floorcare range is also set for a very strong second half as we consolidate the launch of our Miele S8 assortment.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

We believe that the premium consumer continues to demand the highest levels of hands-on experience, knowledge and good, old-fashioned customer care from their chosen retailer, where the focus is on recommending the right quality product in a genuine, unbiased way. Those retailers who are able to do this by hiring, training and retaining the right people will thrive in an environment that still remains tricky for typical electrical retail formats.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

We are lucky to work in an environment with very few external international threats, compared to Europe, for example, particularly in the major domestic appliance categories. So, in the short-term, we feel that the threats come from within our own industry by accepting value erosion or the new entry of ‘promise all, deliver nothing new’ brands. This is somewhat inevitable and will be driven by natural market forces. Our role as the market leader in premium appliance sales is to build value-added propositions, and by continuing to invest in research and development to bring the world leading innovations to the Australian consumer.

What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?

This has to be the DGC6800 combi-steam oven. This single appliances excels in everything it does by combining the latest generation steam injection technology and the qualities of our high-end ovens. The M Touch user interface is amazingly intuitive, oozes quality and looks sensational in Clean Steel, Brilliant White, Obsidian Black or Mink.

German excellence: Miele's Pure Line oven with M Touch controls.
German excellence: Miele’s Pure Line oven with M Touch controls.