Strong second half predicted.
Smeg has experienced growth in both major and small appliance categories in the first half of 2016, according to brand manager, Tamara Buchanan. The company is looking forward to a boost in consumer confidence and continued sales growth following the upcoming election.
How has the first half of 2016 been for your business?
Smeg has enjoyed a positive start to the year with healthy sales that have further solidified our position with both consumers and retail partners. Hard work and committed retail relationships have delivered year-on-year growth in all major domestic appliance and small domestic appliance categories. Through the latter half of 2015, Smeg refreshed its 60cm built-in oven range with the new ‘perfect alignment aesthetic’ proving popular with customers, and increasing the add-on sales of compact ovens.
The highly successful introduction of small appliances to the Smeg offering in March 2015 made a huge impact in the marketplace, which in turn grew the premium category.
Smeg has maintained a targeted marketing strategy in both print and digital media increasing our brand’s reach – this program extended to a series of dedicated events which further enhanced consumer interaction with the brand.
What are your predictions for the second half of the year?
Following a general election there is usually an increase in consumer confidence, so we are looking forward to a continuation of the upward trend in retail sales throughout the second half of the year. For many consumers renovation is a very accessible option, contributing to the health of the sector.
At Eurocucina in April 2016, Smeg unveiled more than 200 new products – most of which are ready for immediate European production. Smeg Australia has just released its third collection of built-in appliances and will be the first market to carry the new planetary dishwashing platform. We will also have a fully revised program for freestanding cookers towards the end of the year and into 2017. The clear direction from Smeg Italy is for continued expansion of the range with ongoing development of original and stylish kitchen appliances. So the forecast is for a strong finish to the year for Smeg.
What threats are currently present in the industry?
The biggest threat facing our industry right now is losing sight of what the customer wants from our brands – and why they want this. The ever-increasing number of brands on range exerts more pressure on the sales force. The sales experience, for the consumer, therefore becomes more complex, the art of salesmanship is diluted and the implementation of thorough training programs is spread more thinly (and in some cases does not filter down through the entire salesforce). These factors can result in selling on price only – which in turn leads to downward pressure on pricing and margin. So here at Smeg we believe it is essential to continually invest in retail salesforce training.
What is your favourite product of 2016 so far?
Smeg’s planetary dishwashers have taken dishwashing technology to the next level, so I can’t wait to see how the market reacts. The new Diamond series dishwashers are the best dishwashers Smeg has ever produced. Smeg’s commitment to innovation has been unwavering from the first 14 place setting dishwasher in 1970 and orbital wash technology has never been equalled. So it’s exciting to still be out in front setting yet another benchmark. As a whole, the range has been developed with deliberate incremental features – there is a new model for every level of the market – so it is an easy concept for sales people to understand and promote.