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04 June 2010

MARKET ANALYSIS: Dishwashers

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May Juliana Sado


Juliana Sado, brand marketing manager for Whirlpool looks at why the market penetration of dishwashers is still comparatively low...


Despite significant investment in technology, design and aesthetics the discreet dishwasher still remains a grey area.


Household penetration levels remain well below those of our European neighbours. The dishwasher is still deemed unglamorous and suffers from the stigma of being a non-essential appliance - around 65% of us still don't own a dishwasher.


Why does the appliance struggle to capture consumer imagination? Why do Marigolds compete with an appliance that is proven to be the most hygienic, economical and environmentally friendly way to wash up, saves valuable time and promotes a clutter-free kitchen?


Most of us could benefit from the convenience and improved performance of a modern dishwasher whether that is a full-sized model or one with a more compact footprint, such as a slimline

version. 

GfK reports year-to-date dishwasher unit sales volumes down by 8.6% compared with a year ago and value down by 2.5%. Volumes for full-sized models was down by 11.6% and value by 5.2%. However, there was some growth in slimline dishwashers. These represent around a third

of the total sector by volume and this increased by 4.7% over the year, while value increased by 11.9%. This is an indication that the consumer is prepared to pay for the convenience and size advantage of a slimline model. Whirlpool's study suggests that external dimensions were an important purchasing decision, behind low energy consumption, ease of use and triple-A performance.   


For the consumer, there are lots of things to think about when buying a dishwasher. Firstly, what capacity suits their needs? In a household of two, it may be better to have a smaller 45cm

dishwasher with six to eight place settings.  

However, if they enjoy cooking, socialising and entertaining at home, then a larger model with more place setting capacity could be a better and more economical choice in the long term. 


It is important to remember that some users may have to remove a 60cm cupboard to fit in a dishwasher, but it can also serve as a convenient place to store the dirty dishes, leaving the

worktops clutter-free. It is a great place to keep all the clean crockery, too.


Of course, it does a much better job than hand washing and is more economical and time-saving, too.   


In March 2009, Whirlpool conducted its Pocket and Planet Survey investigating the attitudes and behaviour of consumers towards appliances across Europe. The UK had the lowest household penetration of dishwashers compared with its European neighbours, with France at 63%, Italy

69% and Spain at 72%. 

The survey revealed that 85% of consumers surveyed used the dishwasher daily because it saves time, keeps the kitchen tidy, is more hygienic than hand washing, delivers better results and

saves water and energy. 

It is still an uphill struggle to get the positive dishwasher message across. Those with sufficient income would rather spend their hard-earned cash on other goods before buying a dishwasher,

while those on lower incomes deem them unessential. 

Economic market performance has reduced consumer confidence, but with us all looking to reduce our utility bills, the dishwasher's increasing technological advances and efficiency will have a positive effect on the home as well as the bonus of a positive environmental impact.

What do you think? Email the editor