Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, a group of Michelin
star-rated chefs — the creme de la creme of cuisine
— were whipping up gourmet appetizers for a crowd of
more than 100 people, mostly members of the media.
restaurateur-chef Daniel Boulud, for example, made
Colorado Wagyu ribeye wine-braised short ribs. The
culinary offerings from the other chefs included duck
foie gras royale, accompanied by champagne. And all the
cooking was done in a demonstration kitchen featuring
Samsung’s Chef Collection line.
Park, N.J.-based Samsung Electronics America Inc., the
U.S. unit of the Korean electronics giant, was the host
of the evening party last month. The media got a
close-up look at Samsung’s latest line of home
appliances. Samsung’s Chefs premium kitchen collection
was center stage at the festive showcase, which many of
the company’s top U.S. and global executives attended.
party was serious business. Long an industry leader in
TVs and later smartphones, Samsung has turned its
attention big-time to white goods — refrigerators,
clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers and ranges. And
it’s making solid inroads against leaders such as
General Electric, Whirlpool, Kenmore and others as it
sets its sights on being No. 1 in that category as well.
is grabbing market share with a combination of
technological innovation and stylish design in what the
company claims had been a stagnant sector ripe for
change. Part of the strategy is offering higher-end
products that aren’t as pricey as luxury brands such
as Viking, "premium mass-market" appliances
that are getting rave reviews and winning industry
the Samsung brand has come a very long way in the past
10 years," said Alan Wolf, a senior editor at TWICE
magazine, a trade publication that covers the consumer
electronics industry. "Samsung was very focused,
very concentrated and very determined."
year, Samsung, which bills itself as America’s
fastest-growing appliance company, ratcheted up its
product introductions, with its largest launch to date.
The company, which believes that its prominence in TVs
and cellphones will have a halo effect on consumers for
its home appliances, is promoting its new refrigerators
and other products with its biggest marketing campaign,
run out of Ridgefield Park.
home appliance debuts include new additions to the Chefs
Collection — which incorporates suggestions from
members of Samsung’s Club des Chefs such as Boulud —
and includes a four-door refrigerator with metal cooling
plates to prevent temperature fluctuations, and a
dishwasher with "Water Wall" technology, a
sweeping spray of water that shoots up from the bottom
of the appliance and moves back and forth, rather than
conventional circular water jets, which can miss
cleaning dishes in corners.
we’re changing the way that we clean dishes,"
Kevin Dexter, senior vice president of home appliances
for Samsung’s U.S. unit, said during his presentation.
"Over the years, dishwashers have been trying to
fit a round peg in a square hole, or in more technical
terms, conventional rotary water jets in a box-shaped
from the Chefs Collection, Samsung has premiered new
models of its "Food Showcase" refrigerators,
which feature an exterior door for easy access to
frequently used food items, such as beverages; large
capacity, 30-minute quick-speed washers; and even a
compact "Baby Care" washer, to clean and
sanitize infants’ diapers separate from adult loads.
an interview at the party, Tim Baxter, president of
Samsung Electronics America, said that the company saw
an opportunity to "bring some innovation, some
design, some speed" into a home appliance market
"that was, we felt, fairly stable" and
market’s growth stalled and declined during the Great
Recession, only really recovering and starting to grow
again last year, said Eric Voyer, a vice president at
TraQline, a market research company.
has tough marching orders from corporate headquarters in
Seoul: for the company to become No. 1 globally in home
appliances, in terms of revenue, by 2015.
seems a very challenging target for them," said
Dinesh Kithany, a senior analyst for home appliances at
IHS Technology who follows Samsung globally. "It’s
quite ambitious. I’m not saying it’s not possible.
They have the power. They have the brand name. I’m
sure they can fight the stalwarts like Whirlpool. I
think they’ve grown very nicely across the
has its hurdles; unlike its American rivals, it doesn’t
have U.S. manufacturing facilities, Kithany noted. And
Samsung trails Whirlpool, Kenmore and others in terms of
brand recognition in home appliances, Voyer said. But
Baxter is undaunted.
have grown to over $228 billion, Samsung Electronics
this past year, globally," Baxter said. "We
have aspirations to continue that type of growth
Samsung is No. 5 in revenue for major home appliance
sales, with 10.7 percent of the market at the end of the
first quarter this year, up from 6.7 percent four years
ago, according to TraQline. Its survey ranks General
Electric No. 1, at 15.4 percent; followed by Whirlpool,
at 15.2 percent; Kenmore, at 14.7 percent; and LG
Electronics USA Inc., at 13 percent. The U.S. home
appliances industry is a $26.5 billion-plus business,
according to TWICE research partner Stevenson Co.
and its fellow Korean electronics company, LG, have both
seen dramatic growth in the home appliance market
domestically, Wolf said.
being two brands that were not very familiar to American
kitchens both companies have found more than a foothold,
they’re established players in this marketplace that
had traditionally been dominated by Whirlpool, Maytag,
GE and Kenmore," Wolf said. "It’s amazing.
It’s quite an accomplishment."
home appliances have been winning top marks in consumer
satisfaction in surveys conducted by J.D. Power, Dexter
like Samsung, recently held an event in New York City
with a celebrity — designer and decorator Nate Berkus.
He has partnered with LG and is its artistic adviser for
LG Studio, its line of premium kitchen appliances.
and Boo-keun Yoon, president and chief executive of
Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics Ltd., both
spoke at the Manhattan event, where they announced that
Boulud had joined Samsung’s Club Des Chefs roster.
his formal presentation, Baxter talked about Samsung’s
success at the CES electronics trade show in January in
Las Vegas, where the company unveiled its latest
came out of Las Vegas with an even stronger sense of
momentum and a deeper sense of purpose to make a real
difference in the lives of consumers," Baxter told
the packed room at the Manhattan event.
won a host of awards at the CES this year, and its
dishwasher caused the biggest buzz at that show, Wolf
you think of an appliance as a basic commodity product,
how much further can you enhance it?" he said.
"Then you have an innovation like that — where
the arm moves across rather than spins, and is able to
reach more parts of your dish load — that got a lot of
differentiation is important in the home appliance
sector — it’s a way to gain market share, Kithany
carved out a niche as a "premium mass-market"
brand, Wolf said.
it’s not quite luxury, but it’s maybe just a tick
below that level," he said. "So it’s a price
that’s aspirational but not beyond the reach of a very
large swath of the country."
doesn’t sell as many units as other home appliance
makers, but its average price paid per item is $1,004
versus the industry average of $703, Voyer said.
emphasis is on design and innovation for Samsung’s
appliances, Wolf added.
are beautiful utilities, because they look almost like
art, sculpted, rounded edges, stainless steel," he
said. "And also they pride themselves on their
technology. They’re a very technology-forward
described what influences Samsung’s designs and
Samsung we uncover meaningful insights and creative
ideas from many different sources," he said.
"We engage with consumers to know how they live. We
work closely with chefs and home designers who have
passion and imagination. And we tap into industry and
cultural trendsetters to stay ahead of the curve. … It’s
our deep understanding of the market that enables us to
create products that people never knew they needed, and
now can’t live without."