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The COVID-19 pandemic has given us plenty of extra time at home. It’s no wonder that many people have started to upgrade their own living space. Instead of spending money on travel and restaurant visits, consumers invested in a new kitchen. In this interview, Alejandro Cidón, SVP Marketing Europe at global appliance company Electrolux, talks about new consumer trends and how the pandemic has accelerated the omnichannel retail transformation.

Alejandro, COVID-19 had a substantial impact on the way we live our lives. How has this influenced the household appliances business?

What we can see is that many of the changes in consumer behaviour and spending patterns brought on by the pandemic are here to stay. Consumers are still spending more time at home, using their appliances more intensively and allocating a larger share of their household budgets to home improvement projects.

They have started to look at appliances in a new way, putting more emphasis on high quality and convenience that enhance their user experience. This creates exciting opportunities for us – and our retail partners – as we leverage the increased demand for our cooking, laundry, vacuum cleaner and air comfort offerings, improving the everyday lives of our consumers.

What major consumer trends in your industry have emerged from this pandemic that will remain, in your opinion?

Two trends have taken root over the past 20 months or so that will certainly not go away: the first embraces both the state of our planet and personal wellbeing, as well as those we care for. We see that more and more people are eager to adopt healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.

The second trend revolves around the increasing demand for a seamless shopping experience. Consumers expect to shop whenever and wherever they want, meaning across all stationary and digital channels. COVID-19, with all the lockdowns and store closures, has clearly boosted this development in the household appliance industry.

How does Electrolux cater to the quest for a more sustainable living?

Sustainability is becoming a crucial driver in consumers’ purchasing decisions at the point of sale (POS). According to our research, most consumers want to make a difference – yet many of us don’t have the right tools or appliances to do so.

Together with key trade partners such as Expert, we want to empower consumers to close this ‘green gap’ between how people want to live and how they are actually living – by offering high-performance appliances that enable them to cook healthier, make clothes last longer and improve their home environment. Our latest Electrolux campaign ‘Make it Last’ is the first to put sustainability in the spotlight.

Selling about 60 million household products in 120 markets each year, we want to live up to our responsibility and leverage our global reach. We have the consumer insights and the innovations to nudge consumers towards a more sustainable lifestyle. But we can only win if we work closely with our trade partners at the POS, both offline and online, to make sustainability an integral part of the overall omnichannel consumer experience.

What is Electrolux’s approach to a seamless shopping experience, the second trend you mentioned?

Today it’s all about how and where we reach the shopper. Our business-to-business partnerships have evolved and so has our common goal: to grow our product categories profitably, providing the best consumer experience in the market.

Let’s look back to the peak of COVID-19 where most stores had to close for a long time. The immediate assumption would have been that the purely online players would benefit from it, but this was not the case. Our partner Expert is a strong example here: it has significantly pushed its omnichannel performance by means of multiple purchase funnel developments, now offering click-and-collect or curbside pick-ups, for instance.

What is your recipe to win with the shopper omnichannel?

There’s no doubt that most shoppers start their journey online and, for that reason, digital content is king. Navigation and selection to improve the path to purchase plays a critical role, and we at Electrolux constantly invest in meaningful innovations based on strong consumer insights.

But it’s also about understanding shopper needs, building trust and being close, focusing on convenience, and operating with a solution-focused mindset. These are the key ingredients while we continue to invest in building our premium brands – AEG and Electrolux – and strengthen collaboration with our retail partners across all channels.

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