LG plans to lead the way in the premium sector

Korean manufacturer LG has plainly stated its ambition to become a leader in the premium electricals sector.

In a round table event at its Innofest conference in Budapest this week, the Korean consumer electronics and home appliances giant said it intended to “define the way” in the premium laundry sector.

LG revealed its Centum System range in the fourth quarter of 2015. According to chief operating officer for the UK & Nordics, Andy Mackay, the new Centum Twin Wash washing machine “breaks new ground”.

Mr Mackay pointed out that LG made its move into the UK premium market more than 10 years ago, with direct drive washing machines and side-by-side refrigeration. These products, he said, “brought LG very quickly into premium space”.

Bryan Suyoung Pan, home appliance product director at LGE UK, said: “As Toyota benchmarked the Avensis to invent the Lexus, we benchmarked the Centum range. We want to define the new laundry category with the Twin Wash.”

LG also announced at Innofest that its Centum System products would all come with a 20-year warranty on the compressor, showing its confidence in the durability of the technology.

LG COO Andy Mackay
Andy Mackay

Even though LG entered the premium market through home appliances, Mr Mackay said it was doing the same in consumer electronics with 4K OLED. LG unveiled its new 4K OLED TV, part of its Signature range, at CES 2016 and Mr Mackay said it is very much its “pathfinding technology”.

“When we talk about LG being premium, you start very much with OLED,” he said. “OLED for three years now has been LG’s emerging noise.”

Mr Mackay also said the OLED TV is seeing the greatest momentum in the premium market. “What’s considered to be a premium TV is one that’s over £1,500. At LG, we were about 13 per cent of that market in 2014, eight per cent the year before that and 20 per cent last year. So last year, we saw this big jump up. But by February, we were already at 32 per cent.

“We’re on the cusp of number one,” he added. “I think gradually people are seeing LG as a more premium brand than 10 years ago.”

UK, Ireland & Nordics president Juan Hwa Lee added that the Signature series combined three key elements, which are technology, design and user benefits. He said LG was “confident with this brand”.

However, he stated that LG had been affected by the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit issue. “Starting this year, market dividends have been slightly down. Most manufacturers are being affected by currency issues, mainly those coming from Brexit. But at LG, we are growing, which sounds optimistic, but we are growing. This year, we are going to finish better than previous years.”