White products so trendy they don’t call themselves that anymore


Custom refrigerator from Samsung Electronics. Aesthetic home appliances are popular among Koreans. [NEWS1]

With the pandemic forcing people to spend more time at home, the demand for luxury home appliances has increased.

Home appliances have long been considered a solid staple. New purchases were not necessary for a considerable time once the essential gadgets had been purchased. But not anymore. Home appliances are coming in and going out of fashion now, with people buying them for satisfaction and desire rather than necessity.

Amid the pandemic, home appliances are one of the few product categories where sales have increased. At Hyundai Seoul, Seoul’s largest department store located in Yeouido, west Seoul, LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics ranked first and second in terms of sales in the first week of opening.

Home appliance sales at Korea’s three department stores – Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store and Hyundai Department Store – jumped 49%, 38.5% and 39.4% respectively in the first quarter compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

LG Electronics’ home appliances and air solutions (H&A) unit first quarter revenue was 6.7 trillion won ($ 6 trillion), up 23 trillion won , 8% over one year. Sales of Samsung Electronics’ consumer electronics (CE) unit, which sells televisions and household gadgets, amounted to 13 trillion won, up 26.1 percent. It also reported a record quarterly operating profit of 1.1 trillion won, exceeding 1 trillion won for the first time.

The surge is linked to the increased stay-at-home time during the pandemic.

Although more and more people are spending time at home, they want to devote it to leisure and relaxation. Time spent on household chores is decreasing, while the popularity of consumer electronic gadgets that help reduce household chores is on the rise. Sales of dishwashers, dryers and robot vacuums – long known in Korea as household gadgets – have increased dramatically.

According to Lotte Hi-Mart, sales of garment care devices between January and April increased by 40% compared to the same period last year. Sales of dishwashers, induction hobs and robot vacuums increased by 70%, 25% and 15% respectively.

Gmarket reports an increase in the volume of consumer electronics transactions. According to the e-commerce platform, dishwasher transactions between March and April increased 68% year on year. Food waste disposal transactions increased 55%, televisions by 36% and drum washers by 33%.

“In the past, refrigerators, washing machines and televisions were the top three household appliances given as wedding gifts, but people are now adding dishwashers, dryers and stylers to the list,” he said. said Yoon Hyun-chul, chief consumer buyer of the Lotte department store electronics division. “There are a lot of newlyweds who spend over 10 million won just on household gadgets.”

Koreans are also getting into luxury devices. At Lotte Himart, sales of soundbars, a high-quality speaker, increased 130% between January and April, compared to the same period a year earlier. Stylers and tablet PCs were also in demand, with sales up 40%.

“I think home appliances are trend sensitive,” said a housewife who is considering moving. “My appliances are working perfectly fine, but I’m thinking of buying new ones for interior design.”

She plans to change her old-fashioned flower-patterned refrigerator to a trendy built-in refrigerator.

For people today, the huge price of high-end home appliances doesn’t matter.

According to Lotte Hi-Mart, an 800-liter refrigerator and a 21-kilogram (46.3 pound) drum washer were the most popular three or four years ago, priced at 3 million won and 1.5 million won. won. Recently, high-end refrigerators that are gaining in both design and function are selling fast. A high-end four-door refrigerator, priced at 40 million won, and a 24 kg drum washer valued at around 2 million won, are the most popular.

With celebrities appearing on reality shows giving glimpses of their home lives, their luxurious home appliances are also driving demand. Buying home appliances benefits the family as a whole, making it easier for people to justify their purchases and feel better at the same time.

“A house is now known as a multifunctional place where people can rest, work and enjoy their leisure time,” said Lee June-young, professor in the Department of Consumer and Housing Studies at Sangmyung University. . “With home electronics seen as important gadgets that serve both function and design, the demand for aesthetically pleasing high-end devices is unlikely to decline.”

BY YOO JI-YOEN [[email protected]]


About Anne Wurtsbach

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