Portable heaters and electric blankets selling well.

Heating sales are up on last year, even though the cooler weather hit a little later this time around, according to Betta Home Living CEO, Graeme Cunningham.

“Sunbeam and Kambrook portable heaters and electric blankets, as well as heaters from Dimplex, De’Longhi and Rinnai have been the best sellers,” Cunningham told Appliance Retailer.

“Some customers just want to keep warm and will just buy what is available, while others want quality brands. We tend to stock known brands as opposed to non-branded, cheaper products.

“I am confident of a strong trading period in heating, in particular portable heating and electric blankets. Most of our major categories are performing well when compared to last year, including whitegoods, cooking, air-conditioning, AV, furniture and bedding,” he said.

Leading Appliances

Heating sales are up around 20% on last year for Thomson’s Home Furnishings in Euroa, Victoria. “It’s been a great season, which started extremely early for our region in mid-March, and of course every retailer has 2016 stock so it was great to move last year’s stock so early on,” Tyson Thomson told Appliance Retailer.

He noted that consumers are more conscious on energy efficiency, with the Hazelwood mine closing down in east Gippsland Victoria, energy prices are going to be the highest on record, so consumers are doing the research to understand their heating needs.

“I feel this year there has been two types of buyers,” Thomson said.

“Buyer one is after a quick heat up to take the chill off in the morning so they will often choose a fan heater. Our best sellers have been Kambrook and Goldair fan heaters with prices ranging from $25 to $60, depending on models.

“Buyer two is after a long term solution that’s energy efficient but is going keep the area warm all day and night. These customers take time as the salesperson must explain the different model sizes, timer modes, among other features. The best sellers in our store are Noirot and Nobo thanks to their compact size offering.

Sales for reverse cycle split systems are also up with many customers waiting for the cashbacks to begin from brands such as Mitsubishi and Fujitsu. Electric blankets, throw rugs and dryers have also been selling well.

Barkes Appliances

Heating sales this winter are slightly up on last year after a late start to the cold weather, according to Barkes Electrical store owner, David Barke. “The seasons certainly have shifted and this means we are seeing a later start to sales and as a result we are taking stock in later,” he told Appliance Retailer.

“Although we are up on last year, we have seen a marked decline in “plug in” heater sales over the past five years as consumers grapple with higher energy prices and the cost to run these products.

“Inverter split systems are our best performing category with Mitsubishi our best performing brand. Consumers are attracted to the efficiency, longevity and dual purpose aspect of an inverter split for both heating and cooling. Once customers understand that the cost to install a quality product is no different to a low cost house brand they invest in products that will give them years of trouble free service,” Barke said.

He believes promotional activity around cashbacks generates pre-purchase interest and kick-starts the enquiries, although “they start too early and finish too early as we need them kicking in when the cold starts rather than in April where most of the country is still enjoying late summer weather”.

Gas heaters from Rinnai, Braemar and Cannon have also been selling well. “Our gas sales have been steady but with the running cost increases due to price rises in natural gas we find these more to be replacement purchases rather than new installations where a split system is more favoured,” he said.

“With at least another two cold months ahead I am expecting the continued strong sales of splits to continue, however when it comes to plug in there may not be a lot more left. These tend to sell as soon as the cold hits then die off. Of course whilst talking about winter and winter products electric blankets and slow cookers have moved well although with a lack of rain clothes dryers although steady have not hit their mark yet. Bring on the wet miserable days,” he added.