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White Goods

White Goods
Monday 28 February 2015
 It is estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy that electric motors found in domestic ‘white’ goods use 60 percent of the world's electrical power with refrigeration consuming nearly 10 percent of this energy. Homeowners spend phenomenal amounts each year to operate such home appliances as refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, water boilers, furnaces, air-conditioners and of course - lights. It is appliances such as these that account for about 70 percent of all energy used in homes around the world. By bringing digital electronic control to motors through the use of embedded chips, 30-50 percent of that energy can be saved, therefore making white goods more ecologically efficient.
The UK ‘white’ goods market covers sectors such as home laundry appliances, refrigeration equipment, cooking appliances, microwave ovens and dishwashers. The market experienced strong growth between 1996 and 1997, to reach a value of £2.49bn in 1997, an increase of 11.5% on the previous year, and 23.5% up on 1993. The market benefited from the effects of a strong economy in 1997, with high levels of personal disposable income (PDI), an active housing market with rising property prices and the effects of building society windfall payments. Volume sales were also up in 1997, reaching 9.8 million units. This represents growth of 9.4% over 1996 and an increase of 23.7% since 1993. The higher level of growth by value than volume indicates that there is a degree of trading up by consumers in what is essentially a replacement market. With fewer first-time buyers entering the market, it has been essential for manufacturers to encourage existing owners to upgrade and/or replace their appliances more often.

The UK consumer electronics, or brown goods market covers home entertainment products such as televisions, video cassette recorders (VCRs), camcorders, satellite systems, audio systems, portable audio and audio separates. It does not include home computers, in-car audio equipment or audio and video software.

The UK brown goods market has undergone a difficult period during the recession, with sluggish sales and upheaval in the electrical retailing sector. Despite this, in 1995 the brown goods market in the UK was worth £2.86bn at retail selling prices (rsp), an increase of 2.7% on 1994. In terms of unit sales, the market reached 16.6 million units, an increase of 2.2% on 1994.

The slow rate of economic recovery has not helped the brown goods market, but there have been signs in the last couple of years that sales are recovering and most sectors, especially audio systems, portable audio and large-screen televisions, are now showing strong growth.

Household penetration is high in markets such as televisions and VCRs, and so new product development (NPD) tends to drive the market, with consumers more likely to upgrade a VCR or television, for example, than a kitchen appliance.

The brown goods market is closely linked with the television and radio broadcasting companies, with innovations developed by these companies helping to change the products offered by brown goods suppliers. For example, NICAM stereo was developed by the BBC and Independent Television.

The brown goods market is an international one, with the UK market dominated by a few multinationals, such as Sony, Philips and Panasonic. There are very few UK-based manufacturers except in the audio separates and satellite receivers market.

In terms of distribution, the brown goods market is very much dominated by the electrical multiples, such as Dixons, Currys and Comet, with smaller independents important in sectors such as audio separates, where more specialist advice is sought by the consumer.

In terms of the future, the brown goods market is expected to show steady growth over the next 5 years, with overall growth of 25.6% by value up to the year 2000. Between 1996 and 2000, the market is forecast to grow to £3.79bn.

The term ‘brown goods’ is used to describe products that include televisions, video cassette recorders, camcorders, all audio products and compact disc players. ‘Brown goods’ is a reference to early TVs, radios and radiograms that came packaged in wooden, wood-coloured plastic or Bakelite cases. Brown goods are all essentially entertainment products.

Between 1995 and 1999, the market experienced a period of strong growth in value. By 1999, the value of the total UK brown goods market at manufacturers’ sale prices (msp) was £3.27bn, a rise of 2.9% on 1998, and an increase of 14.8% over the period 1995 to 1999. This growth was driven by a number of factors including the increasing strength of the world economy generally over this period, and the development and increasing market penetration of these products. The latter part of 1998 and the early part of 1999 has witnessed a general slowdown in the growth of the value of the UK brown goods market, largely due to oversupply, a tightening economic climate and the effect of the continuing strength of sterling. Asian and US multinationals have begun to reduce manufacturing capacity in the UK in response to these forces.

The UK small domestic electrical appliances market covers a wide range of products, which are broadly grouped into three sectors. Small kitchen appliances include kettles, coffee and tea makers, toasters, sandwich toasters, deep-fat fryers, food preparation appliances, and table-top cooking appliances. Non-kitchen appliances include electric irons and hand-held vacuum cleaners. Personal care appliances include men's and women's electric shavers, hairdryers and hair stylers, and electric toothbrushes.

In 2000, the market was worth an estimated £657.9m, an increase of 3.5% on 1999. Volume sales reached 28.2 million units, up by 4.9% on 1999. The largest sector, in terms of value and volume, is kettles, followed by irons.

As small electrical appliances are relatively compact in size and easy to display in terms of the space they occupy, the major electrical multiple retailers have not achieved the same level of dominance as they have in the white goods market.

The market is forecast to increase in value by 3% between 2000 and 2001, rising by a further 7.3% to £727.3m by 2004.

Small household appliances like kettles and toasters must last longer if Britain is to meet the demands of a new EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Over eight million small appliances are discarded each year in the UK, virtually all of them ending up in landfill. After 2004 this will no longer be permissible. The EU Directive will set recycling targets for all types of household appliances - 50% in the case of small appliances.

Governments will be required to ensure systems are in place to collect discarded items separately, while producers will have to assume financial responsibility for the cost of recycling or disposal.

On average, small appliances only last four years before being discarded. In a recent survey of more than 800 householders, many consumers said they felt that such products should last longer. The survey also revealed that a high proportion are deterred from repairing appliances, most often because of cost.

Typical lifespans of products:
(Average age when discarded)

Electric cookers = 12 years
Refrigerators and freezers = 11 years
Televisions = 10 years
Washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers = 9 years
Hi-fi and stereo = 8 years
Vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaners = 8 years
Microwave ovens = 7 years
Video equipment/Home and garden tools/Radio, personal stereo and CD = 6 years
Telephones, faxes, answer machines/Computers/Small work or personal care appliances = 4 years
Mobile phones and pagers/Toys = 2 years


White Goods
Sunday 20 March 2015
 The Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have announced contingency plans for the growing number of discarded refrigerators in the UK. The problem of unwanted fridges has escalated in Britain since January of this year, when new EU regulations deemed that CFC laden white goods could no longer be exported. 75% of unused fridges in the UK had previously been exported for reuse in Africa. Despite ample warning, and other member states developing schemes before 2002, the UK appeared to be caught off-guard by the legislation and a so called ‘fridge mountain’ ensued. A DEFRA spokesperson commented this week; "At the moment we've got just under a million fridges stockpiled that need clearing, it's anticipated that by the end of the summer, September or October time, we'll be able to clear more fridges than actually arrive. So from October the fridge backlog will start to reduce and at some time next year will be completely clear." Plans for five regional fridge decommissioning facilities were also announced, where discarded fridges can be quickly disposed of. The first of these plants may be operational at the end of this month. When all five facilities are up-and-running, 15,000 fridges will be processed per week at which rate the current backlog will be gone by 2003.




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