The Power of a Beautiful Signature
Anyone who’s remodeled their kitchen lately knows that you can spend a nearly infinite amount of money on appliances. Upscale consumers have shown a willingness to plunk down five-figure sums for boutique appliances that combine outstanding functionality with distinctive design—whether it’s a Viking stove or Miele dishwasher or Sub-Zero refrigerator. It’s an understandable impulse. These are machines that you look at all the time and use a lot. If you can afford to buy beautiful home technology, it’s hard to get excited about a Kenmore refrigerator.
For mass-market brands, this is both an opportunity and a challenge. High net worth consumers are often more brand conscious than price sensitive; they want a stove that speaks to their culinary ambitions, their aesthetics and their excellent taste in home design. Brands like the ones mentioned above already possess those associations; big consumer brands send different messages—functionality within limits. It’s like the challenges that Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia face trying to break into the luxury car market. They can make some excellent cars, like the Genesis and K900, that compete favorably with the Germans, cost less and have longer warranties. But what suburban driver is going to boast to his friends about his new Kia? Easier to buy an Audi A6.
Are the barriers to luxury market entry as high with home appliances as with cars? The Korean conglomerate, LG, is about to find out. Founded in the late 1950s, LG is a massive multinational with about $56 billion a year in annual revenues from selling everything from air conditioners to televisions and smart watches. It’s consistently ranked high on Forbes’ and Fortune’s lists of the world’s most admired companies, and it has an excellent reputation for quality and technological innovation. But it’s not considered a high-end brand. (Full disclosure: For about two years I have had an LG washer and dryer. They cost about $1,000 apiece, and they work great.)
Last week, though, LG introduced LG Signature, a new line of upscale home appliances directly targeted at high net worth consumers. The first five entries are a refrigerator, a television (in two sizes), a washing machine, a combination washer/dryer, and an air purifier. They come with what LG calls “Signature Concierge” service, which, for anyone who has struggled with television installation or appliance repair, is an enormous selling point. LG Signature Concierge comes with a welcome package, a personal phone call to explain the program benefits, priority service dispatch and a pinpointed arrival for a service technician. And when you register your products with LG, the company will gift you one of its G Pad Tablets.
These products are not cheap—the refrigerator weighs in at $8,499, while the 77-inch television will set you back $19,999. But they are gorgeous, and they incorporate some truly impressive technology. Take a look.
LG SIGNATURE OLED TV
According to LG, experts have proclaimed this the “best TV ever.” After a certain point of excellence, these claims are impossible to prove, but there’s no question that this is a stunning television. Boosted by HDR10—open-source technology for high dynamic range—as well as Dolby Vision (the first TV to be compatible with both technologies), the colors are remarkably vivid, the contrasts striking. One remarkable fact: The OLED TV is just 2.57 millimeters thick, about the width of four credit cards. The 65-inch model costs $5,999; the 77-inch costs $19,999.
LG SIGNATURE AIR PURIFIER
The LG Signature Air Purifier, which costs $1,699, humidifies and eliminates particles within a 300 square feet radius. Its filter system can be washed and reused for up to a decade, and you can see the air being cleaned through a transparent cover. The light display just beneath the translucent section changes color, from red to blue, as indoor air quality improves. That’s not only nice to know, but it looks very cool.
LG SIGNATURE REFRIGERATOR
There are a lot of things to like about the LG Signature Refrigerator ($8,499), but let’s cut to the chase and get to the coolest one: Its “InstaView” feature allows you to see what’s inside the fridge without actually opening the door and letting out cold air. Just tap twice on the opaque “Door-in-Door” compartment, and it turns transparent, as shown in the photo above.
LG SIGNATURE WASHER
With 5.8 cubic feet of capacity, the LG Signature Washer ($1,999) is the largest in its class and features high-pressure nozzles that can save up to 30 minutes per load. It also incorporates the “Full On Door-Touch Panel,” which incorporates the touch-enabled controls into the door itself. But perhaps the best part: the SideKick pedestal washer, an additional washing machine built into the footprint of the washer pedestal, that allows you to do two loads simultaneously. (Colors and whites, for example.) For busy families, that’s a game-changer.
LG SIGNATURE COMBO TWIN WASH SYSTEM
The LG Signature Combo Twin Wash System ($3,699) comes with smart connectivity, which means that users can receive smartphone notifications when, say, the detergent tank is empty. That’s a nice touch, but the real value of this machine is the fact that it’s both a washer and a dryer (it’s in the pedestal section), an enormous space saver. Anyone living in an apartment or smaller home knows just how glorious it would be to eliminate one large appliance.
The bottom line: The five first entries in the LG Signature series are beautifully designed and technologically empowering home appliances that instantly establish LG as a powerful new player in the high end market.
For more information, visit LG.com.