Appliances that use less power growing popular

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Appliances that use less power growing popular

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Clockwise: LG Electronics’ washing machine, GPNC’s LED TV, Winix dehumidifiers

The slowing economy and concerns about electricity usage have combined to give a boost to appliances that are cheaper to run.

Sales of cheaper washing machines outpaced those of more expensive drum washing machines. And dehumidifiers, which use much less power than air conditioners, are emerging as a cooling alternative for consumers this summer.

According to a report by online market Interpark that analyzed consumer trends, sales of dehumidifiers are booming. Sales of dehumidifiers at Interpark, which accounted for 5.6 percent of all home electronics sales in 2010, increased to 9.3 percent in 2012 and shot up to 41.1 percent last year.

Sales of dehumidifiers at Interpark surged 500 percent between May 26 and June 25 compared to the same period last year, much higher than the 300 percent on-year sales increase of air conditioners during the same period. When used in conjunction with a fan, a dehumidifier can provide a cooling effect while consuming only 10 percent of the electricity used by an air conditioner.

At online market Auction, sales of dehumidifiers also jumped 435 percent during the May 26 to June 25 periods from a year earlier. Gmarket saw sales of dehumidifiers between Jan. 1 and June 25 increase 282 percent.

Although the manufacturer Winix is dominating the domestic dehumidifier market, models by LG Electronics are popular at online shopping malls.

From May 2012 to this April, LG dehumidifiers accounted for 59 percent of dehumidifier sales at Interpark, followed by Sinil Industry models with 15 percent.

Other power-saving devices such as refrigerator curtains, plastic curtains for the interior of your refrigerator that prevent the cold air from escaping when the door is open, are also attracting customers at 11st, another online shopping market. Other thrify consumer choices include smaller and more basic washing machines and televisions made by smaller companies, not behemoths LG or Samsung.

Sales of more basic washing machines accounted for 59 percent of all washing machine sales at Interpark during the first half of this year. Sales of drum-type machines only accounted for 19 percent, even though drum washers are actually energy efficient and quiet.

In addition, sales of small washing machines are growing due to the increasing number of single-person households and changing lifestyles of consumers. Many people like doing daily, small loads of laundry now.

At Auction, sales of mini washing machines increased about 30 percent between May 26 and June 26 compared to the same period last year, and they were largely purchased by consumers in their 20s and 30s.

TVs by SME brands are also becoming popular at online shopping malls. The TV market share by brands for 2012 at Interpark shows SME electronics companies GPNC and Sky Media being jointly ranked No. 3, as they controlled 9 percent of the whole market.

Sales of TVs of SMEs shot up 250 percent at Auction. Consumers’ perception of TVs from SMEs has changed since their quality rose and the companies’ gained a reputation for good after-sales service.

Prices are half those of Samsung or LG Electronics TVs while they have all the essential features, including “smart” functions and 3-D.

By KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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