This month we consulted with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery to find out what laundry appliances are trending with American homebuyers.
Based in Newport News, Va., Ferguson operates showroom locations across the country and sells everything from kitchen and bath products to appliances and lighting. As a result, the company is in a unique position to gather data on product design trends for the kitchen, bath, laundry room, and outdoor spaces. We recently spoke the company’s category manager for appliances, Todd Jones.
The Front Load Washer is two washers in one, allowing home buyers to wash separate loads at the same time. Its SuperSpeed feature washes a full load in as little as 30 minutes, while its Steam Wash feature helps remove stains without needing a pre-treatment, the company says. The unit is Wi-Fi enabled. Photo: Courtesy Samsung
So what are buyers choosing for their washers and dryers these days? Like everything else, technology is gaining ground and appliance design is now just as important.
“In terms of customers' behavior, we are seeing customers moving out of their comfort zones,” Jones says. “More customers are experimenting with colors in their laundry sets. We also see comfort with technology in terms of purchasing laundry with connectivity and smart features. Growth through the online channel has made buying easy and convenient. Lastly, we have seen an uptick in customers looking for two specific features: sanitation and energy and water efficiency.”
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This FlexDry electric dryer is units dryers in one, allowing users to dry delicates and everyday garments at the same time. With the Delicate Dryer feature a user can flat dry delicates, sweaters and accessories to prevent items from shrinkages and damage. Like its washer counterpart, it is Wi-Fi enabled and offers Multi-Steam Technology to help steam away wrinkles, odors, bacteria, and static. Photo: Courtesy Samsung
Some years ago, front-load washing machine made a splashy debut as a water- and energy-efficient alternative to the conventional top-loading unit. Popular in Europe, front loaders have grown in popularity since then, but Ferguson says the product still plays second fiddle to the top-loader—at least among its customers.
“Yes, the top load is still king,” says Jones. “Nearly 80% of laundry purchases remain top load today. While advances in technology have made units without agitators practical and functional, customers seem to stay with what they are familiar with—many still requesting agitator models.”
This 5.3-cubic-foot top load washer offers smart features to make life easier for users. A Load & Go dispenser allows user to skip adding detergent to every load, and a built-in, dual temperature faucet and pretreat brush presoaks, scrubs, and washes in one spot. Users can also create customized cycles and manage laundry from a smartphone to stay connected from anywhere. It comes in white and Chrome Shadow. Photo: Courtesy Whirlpool
Though front-loading washers are hailed as energy-efficient marvels, they are not without some critics. Claims of smelly wash tubs and underwhelming performance have existed for many years. But Jones says these concerns have been addressed for the most part.
“Generally speaking, front load units are more efficient in terms of water use. They are also proven to clean better due to tumbling action—using less water and detergent. That said, there are simple solutions to minimize the smell concern. Customers should leave the washing machine door open on their washer to allow excess moisture to escape when not in use. Some manufacturers are even creating a feature which automatically props the door open when not running to force this habit.”
The top load electric dryer features three moisture and temperature sensors to help prevent overdrying. It allows users to create customized cycles in a few touches, and control the dryer remotely to manage laundry day from a smart phone. The unit also offers steam cycles and options to help keep wrinkles from setting and reduce static cling. Photo: Courtesy Whirlpool
Buyers are still looking for machines offering the capacity to wash big loads, and many customers are expressing interest in steam functionality, quick wash capabilities, and other time-saving features such as auto-dispensing, Ferguson says.
“Connected capabilities are essential to tech-savvy buyers,” Jones says. “Aesthetics, such as color, are increasing in interest to some customers too.” Colored appliances make up a small portion of the market, but the company’s data show that color is more important in front loaders.
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The Perfect Steam front-load washer offers SmartBoost technology that provides effective stain removal by premixing water and detergent before the cycle begins, maximizing the cleaning power of the detergent, the company says. An Adaptive Dispenser feature accepts detergent packs to give user flexibility to clean with all detergent types. It comes in Titanium and Island White. Photo: Courtesy Electrolux Appliances
“When customers are bold enough to invest in color, we most commonly see customers gravitate towards the grey family,” Jones continues. “The most popular colors are graphite, titanium, black stainless, stainless and we occasionally see blues and reds. Interestingly, color is more in demand with Gen Z and Millennial customers, whereas Gen X and Boomer generations tend to prefer white. There is also a correlation between household income and the likelihood to buy a unique color in the laundry set.”
The Perfect Steam electric dryer comes with Predictive Dry and LuxCare Dry System with a more precise sensor to protect fabrics from over-drying, the brand says. Instant Refresh cycle removes wrinkles and quickly refreshes items with steam in 10 minutes, while its 15-Minute Fast Dry feature quickly dries items fast. It comes in Titanium and Island White. Photo: Courtesy Electrolux Appliances