Samsung beats Whirpool in U.S.

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Samsung beats Whirpool in U.S.

Samsung Electronics became the biggest player in the U.S. consumer electronics market in the fourth quarter for the first time since launching operations there, according to data from market researcher TraQline.

Samsung took up 16.6 percent of the U.S. market in the October-December period last year, taking the top spot from long-time leader Whirlpool, which had 15.7 percent of the market.

TraQline, under the Kentucky-based Stevenson Company, unveils major appliance market share data every quarter, which it bases on surveys of individuals about five consumer electronics products: refrigerators, washing machines, driers, ovens and dishwashers.

Air conditioners and vacuums are not taken into account because the majority of the former’s customers are corporations, and the latter has a slew of smaller producers.

Samsung’s share of the U.S. market was 14.9 percent last year as a whole, trailing Whirlpool’s 16.4 percent. General Electronics was in third at 14.3 percent, followed by LG Electronics at 13.5 percent.

Samsung’s leap is largely due to its decision to go premium in the U.S. market. The world’s top smartphone producer rolled out its high-end consumer electronics brand Chef Collection last June, which consisted of a refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher, and the products were particularly successful, according to Samsung.

To cater to American consumers’ preference for large devices, Samsung sized up its refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.

In a consumer satisfaction survey last year by market researcher JD Power, Samsung’s so-called French door refrigerator and front-load washing machine topped the list among those who bought similar products in the past two years.

Earlier this month, LG Electronics followed in Samsung’s footsteps by launching its own premium consumer electronics brand “Signature,” which includes high-end TVs, washing machines and refrigerators.

Meanwhile, Whirlpool filed a petition last month to ask the U.S. government to impose duties on washing machines from Samsung and LG that are being made in China. The U.S. company alleges that the two Korean companies were able to acquire a bigger share of the U.S. market by selling washers at less than they cost to produce.

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