By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: De’Longhi will challenge Sunbeam, the dominant player in the $40 million electric blankets category, this coming heating season in the hope of introducing some competition into the market.

Sunbeam holds over 70 per cent market share in the Australian electric blankets category but will face increased competition this year, not least from De’Longhi.

De’Longhi marketing manager, Jason Haskins, said the range has been developed gradually over time and will offer some unique technology offerings without undercutting prices.

“We are in it for the long haul and in the future you will see more product development and features and price points,” Haskins told Appliance Retailer in its February issue.

“The strategy was that, number one, it is an incredibly lucrative category which we all know is dominated by one player. But we didn’t just want to come to market with similar products and price points, we wanted to come to market with innovation," he said.

The company will introduce three ranges of fitted electric blankets, each with three size offerings.

The top-end range features unique graphite wiring for flexibility, Australian and New Zealand combed merino wool and a wireless remote control system.

Sunbeam, which has seen challengers come and go, believes its electric blankets range will continue to dominate sales into the future.

“We are the clear market leader and have been for as long as electric blankets have been sold in this country,” said Sunbeam product manager, Danielle McConnell.

“We area a manufacturer so we have the knowledge and experience in making electric blankets, and we are a brand that consumers trust and research shows that we are the number one brand in unaided recall.”