Panasonic reveals bullish plans for European growth

Sean Hannam reports from the Panasonic Convention in Majorca

Panasonic has outlined an ambitious growth strategy for its European consumer business.

The Japanese electronics brand, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, used its recent Panasonic Convention in Majorca, Spain, to announce four product sectors that are key for growing its consumer business in Europe in 2018 – mirrorless cameras, air conditioning, personal care and kitchen appliances [SDA].

Speaking at the convention, Yosuke Matsunaga, managing director of Panasonic consumer marketing, Europe, said: “We want to increase both revenue and market share in these four categories. For the fiscal year 2018, the total revenue from these four categories will make up about 25 per cent of our total consumer revenue in Europe, growing to 50 per cent by fiscal year 2020. It is a big challenge, but we hope to achieve it with continued support.”

As part of this strategy, Panasonic has moved its air conditioning (air to water heat pump) production from Malaysia to the Czech Republic.

Panasonic said that it would be more dedicated to providing products that meet the demands of European customers.

Panasonic’s new prototype hard crust bread maker
Panasonic’s new prototype hard crust bread maker

Said Mr Matsunaga: “We have integrated our European design centre in London and our business centre in Germany into our consumer organisation. As a result, the product design will match the functionality needs for European customers.”

One of the first products to emerge from this collaboration is a prototype hard-crust bread maker, which was unveiled at the convention. Designed for European consumers, it can be used to create ‘bakery-quality’ loaves, including gluten-free, and will launch in autumn 2018. Panasonic has a 65 per cent market share of the bread maker market in the UK.

Said Junichiro Kitagawa, Panasonic Corporation’s vice-president of appliances company (pictured, top): “Panasonic started trading in Europe in 1962, in Hamburg, Germany. Europe quickly became an important market for Panasonic and has continued to grow steadily since then – Europe now represents a quarter of the company’s global consumer sales.

“We have seen significant growth in Europe, especially in cameras, TV, audio and relatively new categories, like personal care products and kitchen appliances. We have shown strong year-on-year growth. Europe is contributing considerably to our consumer business.”

  • At this year’s Panasonic Convention, the company announced several new products, including its flagship 4K LED TVs – the FX750 and FX740 series, which, design-wise, complement the brand’s recently announced FZ950 and FZ800 OLED models.
Panasonic FX700 LED TV
Panasonic FX700 LED TV

Completing the 4K LED line-up are two further series – the FX600 and FX700.

All of Panasonic’s 2018 LED screens are compatible with High Dynamic Range and have HDR-Multi support, which includes HDR10, HLG and the new HDR10+ dynamic metadata technology. Panasonic will issue a firmware update to all 2018 4K OLED and LED models, which will provide voice control capability with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The company also debuted a SC-HC2020 micro hi-fi system with Google Chromecast built-in and unveiled a DAB/ DAB+ digital radio with Bluetooth connectivity – the RF-D100BT.

  • Main image: Junichiro Kitagawa, Panasonic Corporation’s vice-president of appliances company
  • For more from the Panasonic Convention, see our March issue of the magazine