In addition to making home appliances smarter and more efficient, manufacturers are increasingly working on making white goods look, well, less like white goods.
“Color in the kitchen continues to be a huge trend—we’re no longer just seeing a touch of color but vibrant, bold hues are gaining in popularity,” says Chelsea McClaran, brand manager at luxury kitchen appliance company True Residential. McClaran notes that more than 50 percent of her company’s sales in are in appliances with finishes such as sage or blue-gray. In fact, close on the heels of CES at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas January 31 to February 2, True will be introducing more color.
Even lowly appliances like air filters are getting makeovers. LG’s PuriCare Aero Furniture is an air purifier that comes disguised as a coffee table. The base of the table acts as the filtration system, which reduces the presence of viruses and bacteria by up to 99.99 percent, according to the company. Moreover, the Aero Furniture comes in three striking colors, rose, yellow, or gray, with a choice of two different tabletops, oval or round. The unique design earned the LG air purifier a CES 2023 Innovation Award.
Emphasizing energy efficiency—and an ultra slim design—is another 2023 CES Best of Innovation winner, the Graphene Radiator by Korea’s Graphene Square. By attaching a thin, one-atom-thick film of graphene onto a glass plate, the company has created a transparent radiator that can produce heat using 30 percent less energy than traditional electric radiators. The Graphene is so svelte that it has been called a virtual fireplace.
Also slimming down are robovacs. It continues to be a competitive category, especially since Amazon purchased the market leader iRobot, maker of the Roomba, for $1.7 billion earlier this year. One standout at the 2023 CES promises to be the Ultra-Slim LiDAR Navigation Robot Vacuum & Mop by TP-Link. Touted as the thinnest model on the market, TP-Link has hidden the lidar sensor inside the chassis so that it doesn’t protrude above the top of the vacuum. That means the TP-Link model can get under cabinets and into other challenging spots that other robovacs can’t reach.
Using more sustainable materials will be a major theme of CES, such as Samsung’s touting of its Galaxy Z Flip4 and Galaxy Z Fold4 as being made with recycled fishing nets and using 100 percent recycled paper packaging. But at CES the company will also be touting energy efficiency, specifically in its appliances. The company’s Bespoke AI Laundry products, which come in a variety of colors, aren’t just pretty, they’re also smart. Using special algorithms the Samsung Bespoke AI Washer automatically identifies fabric types and dirt levels, optimizing its performance accordingly to improve energy efficiency. The company’s Bespoke AI Dryer uses sensors to measure the moisture content of clothes in order to optimize drying cycles and reduce temperatures and operating times.
Many appliance makers continue to make incremental improvements. Fisher & Paykel’s compact Series 11 Dishdrawer dishwasher uses 4 percent less water than previous models, for example. But in appliances, Fisher & Paykel’s channel marketing director, Paula Smith, says a lot of consumer interest continues to be on healthy living and that means healthier cooking. Smith says, for example, steam cooking (a new feature on many appliances) helps retain up to 50 percent more nutrients when cooking fish, chicken, and vegetables—without the need for oil or butter. Steam cooking also supports sustainability by reducing food waste because it is “ideal for reheating leftovers, retaining optimal moisture levels with accuracy and precision, so consumers can have day-old leftovers that are good as when they were first prepared,” she says.
Will the pandemic trend of consumers upgrading their home appliances because they were spending more time at home continue? Some firms that are focused on kitchen equipment are optimistic.
“We are continuing to see a lot of renovation projects and upgrades,” says Brian Eschew, sales and marketing director for Dometic Home, which makes home wine fridges, beverage centers, as well as professional kitchen equipment. “People are looking for solutions that can transform a space,” he says, “even if that space is small and compact.”