LAS VEGAS – Over the past several years major appliances have enjoyed an increasingly higher profile at International CES, and this month’s show was no exception.
CES’ largest majap proponents – Central Hall anchors LG and Samsung Electronics – once again devoted considerable chunks of real estate to the category, while long-time exhibitor Whirlpool mounted the largest booth in memory at Tech West, where it was suitably surrounded by connected-home vendors.
Other suppliers, including Dacor and Lynx Grills, shared their smart-cooking wares at CES Unveiled and the neighboring Renaissance Hotel, respectively.
Driving the coming out party for appliances are three factors:
1. The cold shoulder that some of the industry’s largest manufacturers had given KBIS (the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show), once the prime trade platform for white goods;
2. The greater profitability afforded dealers by majaps, as CE margins continue to compress; and
3. The Internet of Everything.
On that last point, appliances were one of the earliest and most easily made usecases for connected-home technology, which was quickly approaching critical mass in Las Vegas.
But besides providing verbal step-by-step cooking instructions (Lynx’s SmartGrill); or voice-activated remote operations (Dacor’s Discovery iQ dual-fuel range); or amended laundry cycles via smartphone (Whirlpool’s “Works With Nest”-enabled top-load and Duet front-load laundry pairs), the latest generation of majaps continued to amaze through sheer engineering brilliance.
Take for example Samsung’s Activewash washer, which features a built-in, flip-down sink for pre-treating clothes and a wash-time of as little as 36 minutes. Or LG’s front-load Twin Wash system, which offers a mini-washer (models WD100C and WD200C) in place of a pedestal, allowing consumers to wash large loads and delicates separately and simultaneously.
And for those who agree that beauty is only skin-deep, vendors offered up a host of fashionable, cost-effective, fingerprint- resistant finishes in a bid to upend the reign of stainless steel.
The stakes will be even higher at the 2016 CES when that sleeping giant Haier America is expected to unleash the first major line refresh under recently named CEO Adrian Micu.
Majaps have long-since emerged from the “sea of white” to rightly assume a central role at CES, alongside 8K displays and other electronic marvels.