Most laundry appliances sales still distress purchases, says Belling

Laundry appliances remain distress purchases, new research has discovered.

Appliance manufacturer Belling conducted a survey of 2,000 UK consumers and found that half owned a washing machine, 35 per cent a washing machine and separate tumble-dryer, and 15 per cent a combination washer-dryer.

It also found that 41 per cent of households of four or more people had both a separate washing machine and dryer, and in addition, 25 per cent of single person households also do.

However, laundry appliances still remained ‘distress purchases’, with 55 per cent saying they made a purchase because a previous appliance had broken down, while 22 per cent were unhappy with their existing appliance’s performance, such as poor cleaning ability.

Other reasons for purchasing included wanting to upgrade to an appliance with a better energy rating/performance (eight per cent), buying an appliance for the first time (seven per cent), upgrading a kitchen (five per cent) and looking to upgrade to something with better functions (three per cent).

Price was found to be the top motivator for a purchase with one third saying cost or a special promotion drove their buying decision.

Of purchases made, 17 per cent said reviews from sources such as Which? or consumer reviews from Revoo helped to make their decision, while 16.4 per cent said they came to their own conclusions after browsing online or on the high street.

This was followed by eight per cent who said they were loyal to the same brand, seven per cent who were persuaded by the advice of the salesperson, 6.4 per cent influenced by the length of warranty, 5.3 per cent swayed by the retailer’s offer to remove their old appliance, 4.4 per cent who browsed the options in high-street shops, 3.4 per cent who followed a recommendation from a friend and three per cent who chose their appliance based on how quickly it could be delivered.

When it came to capacity, the majority of people opted for 8kg or 7kg models (both at 21 per cent). This was followed by 9kg (11 per cent), 10kg (10 per cent) and 6kg (nine per cent) models. Only three per cent had a 5kg model and 22 per cent said they didn’t know the capacity of their appliance.

The majority of people said they used their laundry appliances on a regular basis, with almost a third (31 per cent) washing clothes four or more times a week.

The research also revealed that the majority of consumers purchased their laundry appliance from large multiple high-street retailers (42 per cent), while 34 per cent made their final purchase online. Only 13 per cent of consumers purchased from an independent retailer.

Laura Davies, head of product for laundry at Belling, said: “The laundry sector is a growing, but crowded, marketplace, so we hope this report will be a useful resource for retailers. Our findings have shown that the make-up of households has a major bearing on what laundry appliance will best fit their needs. We hope this report will support retailers in identifying new sales opportunities and will enable them to ask consumers the right questions to match them to the most appropriate product.

“Price is always going to be important in the laundry sector because such a high percentage of laundry appliance sales are distress. As a result, it’s only natural that they would want the price to be right. Laundry appliances are the workhorses of the kitchen, so it’s no surprise that reviews play such an important role in the purchasing decision. Consumers want to know the appliance will work reliably for as long as possible.”