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Why Are Australian Retailers Embracing European Over Japanese Made Appliances?

There is something to be said for ‘Japanese Made’ when it comes to appliances.

I recently spent two weeks in Japan staying in a house that was full of Japanese designed and made appliances and there is no doubt in my mind that Japanese made products are up there with the best from European appliances, especially when it comes to simple but clever design and functionality of those everyday demands that we place on our home appliance.

Several brands stand out in Japan from the Panasonic made appliances to the Hitachi washing machine and refrigeration technology that seriously takes it up to European appliances.

Having used the top end Hitachi refrigerator that has recently gone on sale at Bing Lee in Australia that the Japanese thinking relating to how appliances are used is up there with the best Europe can offer.

Among the Hitachi refrigerator range is a new glass fronted fridge that has a 4.5-star energy rating which is the highest of any refrigerators sold in Australia.

They also have a 20-kilo washing machine that has a glass lid that has been tested by dropping a 1 kilo metal ball from over a metre in height.

Then there is a vacuum cleaning range that could well give Dyson a run for their money with glide, features, interchangeable heads, washable dust capture canisters and lights that allow operators to see into dark corners or under chairs.

Their new 780 litres 6 door French refrigerator which has a top end price sticker of $5,799 has several standout features including a vacuum compartment that is designed to eliminate food waste.

What puzzles me is why Australian retailers are not doing a better job of promoting and selling Japanese made appliance alongside products like Miele, Bosch and AEG at the top end.

Especially as Australia has a large Asian population who are familiar with the Japanese brands that are extremly strong in key Asian markets.

Right now, Japanese Companies are diverting engineers and money away from their TV operations, into developing ‘smart appliances’ where there is a higher return and I suspect that at IFA we will see several new capabilities via appliances, from brands such as Hitachi, Panasonic and Mitsubishi.

A fridge that texts pictures to show what’s for dinner, a voice-controlled washing machine – appliances like these are being designed to talk to each other via the cloud to cut energy bills while delivering information to a smartphone.

As more smart products come on the market and competition cuts prices, global smart appliance sales will rocket to $35 billion by 2020.

In Australia revenue in the “Household Appliances” segment amounts to S1.01 Billion in 2018. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 12.9% resulting in a market volume of US$1.8 billion in 2022.

User penetration is at 13.4% in 2018 and is expected to hit 16.0% in 2022. The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to be approximately $650, according to the latest technology intelligence firm Statista.

Even in the most basic yet essential washing category Hitachi is now selling unique sized washing machines.

The new SF-P200XWV’s is Australia’s largest domestic washing machine that takes up to 20kg of laundry it has a super-wide 616mm bowl.

At the other end of the spectrum Hitachi has introduced a washing machine that is ultra-compact at 590mm wide this 10kg machine is specifically designed for apartment living.

There is also a 13kg SF-P130XWV, ultra large capacity washer in the Hitachi product range.

All of the Hitachi products deliver cutting edge laundry technology.

The Japanese market is unique as at March 2018, 80.2% of households of two or more people own an electronic toilet with a bidet function. On average there are 113 such toilets per 100 households.

Leading Japanese toilet-maker Toto became synonymous with electronic toilets when it introduced the first commode featuring a “washlet” function in 1980.

However, it took people time to warm up to the idea of a toilet shooting a jet of warm water. In 1992, when statistics were first compiled, only 14.2% of Japanese households owned one.

This figure has steadily risen, though, until high-tech toilets have become standard equipment in Japanese homes.

So your next big thing could be a high tech toilet for the dunny.

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