Pricey appliances are all the rage

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Pricey appliances are all the rage


From left, Philips’ S9000 Prestige shaver, Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer and Airwrap styler, Balmuda’s GreenFan S and The Toaster, and Laurastar’s Pulse Silver. [PHILIPS, DYSON, BALMUDA AND LAURASTAR]

With the number of single-person households in Korea on the rise, luxury appliances are attracting young consumers. Though these products can cost 10 times the market average, they are generating significant demand with their unique designs and the promise of high performance.

Britain’s Dyson is one manufacturer known for making luxury appliances that are expensive but offer the possibility of an exceptional user experience.

The company began selling its Airwrap styler last month, marketing it as a hair-friendly styler powered with a special digital motor that can operate without generating high heat.

The Airwrap is priced between 539,000 won ($477) and 599,000 won in Korea.

Also last month, Dyson introduced the Limited Edition Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, hand gilded with 23.75 karat gold leaf that “perfectly blends engineering precision with artisan craft,” according to the company. It’s priced at 559,000 won in Korea.

Japanese brand Balmuda is also popular among consumers willing to pay more for high-functioning appliances with eye-catching designs.

Its GreenFan S, with 14 blades, is a steady seller despite its 549,000 won price tag. Sales of the fan were up 40 percent January to July in Korea compared to the same period last year, according to the company.

Balmuda’s humidifier has a silhouette that resembles a white porcelain vase, and users pour water into it, much like they would into a vase. It is priced at 699,000 won.

Balmuda’s The Toaster, priced at 319,000 won, is another product that utilizes advanced technologies. Consumers uploading pictures of it on social media have accompanied their posts with captions like “a toaster that can bring a dead piece of bread back to life.”

Swiss appliance maker Laurastar’s Pulse Silver, an ironing system that comes with a professional iron and ironing board, sells for a whopping 4.48 million won in Korea. It can be used on all kinds of fabric, including silk, and employs a 3-D soleplate and a vacuum system on the ironing board.

The S9000 Prestige shaver, which was introduced last month by Philips and is priced at around 650,000 won, comes with a wireless charging pad.

Experts believe the rise of single-person households has fueled sales of small appliances. Last year, the number of single-person households totaled 5.5 million in Korea, twice the number in 2000, according to Statistics Korea.

“Consumers can feel satisfaction from owning small luxury appliances rather than large ones, which would cost them more,” said Lee Jung-hee, who teaches economics at Chung-Ang University. “Conspicuous consumption is also a factor driving sales given the popularity of social media.”

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