Today’s executive and luxury properties have one thing in common – they come equipped with fitted, state-of-the-art appliances. The oven is already installed, and often a fridge and washing machine too.
These appliances are factored in by the architect or developer, and built into the retail price of these properties. Has this trend developed purely out of the buyer’s desire to have the kitchen already kitted out and is this adding real value to the property investment, or is it just a gimmick that developers and marketers have adopted to sell more property at premium?
Thus there’s a low-level war between top-line appliance brands in this market, including Smeg, Bosch, Defy, Samsung and Miele, all of which offer an impressive range of slick, energy-efficient appliances for the kitchen and laundry. “Buyers in this market are either first-time homeowners or people downscaling from a large home, and they don’t want to be fussed with kitting out an apartment, opting instead for the ‘one stop shop’ concept,” explains Tarnia Masterson, national business development manager for Bosch Siemens Gaggenau (BSH Home Appliances).
BSH appliances are to be found in upmarket as well as mid-range properties. “Premium-valued apartment purchasers are the clients who are more discerning, and expect quality finishes and design lines as well as energy-saving features, but most buyers in the mid-range market want reliability and value for their money, first and foremost,” says Masterson.
Attractive to developers is the fact that BSH has a reliable world-class service and delivery operation that helps the developer with the package they’re looking for.
Miele is another brand competing in this market, and can be found in Sitari Estate, The Regency apartments in Pretoria, and Jackal Creek golf estate in Roodepoort. Defy, the largest manufacturer and distributor of major domestic appliances in southern Africa, can be found in The Capital Menlyn Maine in Pretoria, among others.
Each of these brands boasts superiority in different ways. Samsung prides itself on technological innovation, leading the way in IoT (Internet of Things) enabled functionality. Miele states that it is the only manufacturer to design, test and manufacture appliances that last for a minimum of 20 years, and that it offers the lowest possible energy and water consumption.
Defy, which has been around for 112 years, has a strong South African heritage and is regarded as highly reliable. “There is a lot of trust in this brand’s name, and as a property developer you would always want to ensure that you maintain the highest standard of quality, with premium products to entice would-be property owners,” says Rox-ann Govender, brand marketing manager for Defy.
But a clear frontrunner in aligning with property developers of upmarket developments is Italian-designed Smeg, offering developers competitive prices and an opportunity to be associated with the Smeg brand. A brand built around ingenuity and unmistakable aesthetics, Smeg has given bland, mass-produced items the elbow in favour of real icons of style. This marketing and sales model is proving very lucrative for property developers, with buyers responding well to purchasing an equipped investment.
Just some of the developers embracing this brand include BLOK and Signatura, as well as The Regent apartment hotel, Val de Vie, Waterfall Country Estate and Brettenwood Coastal Estate. Internationally, Smeg can be found in the likes of the Vale do Lobo resort in the Algarve, Murana Island, a development by Hudson, Equities JV in New York, and the 550 kitchens of Donald Trump’s Ocean Club International hotel in Panama.
“There’s something to be said about a kitchen that exudes a sense of luxury and confident styling, and it’s for this reason that Smeg is the brand of choice for leading architects and designers. It also offers tangible resource of value,” says Natasha Pallotta, Smeg brand and marketing manager.
What they all have in common is advanced technology that speaks to the requirements of the modern homeowner. Some buyers will have their attention drawn to the appliance brand as a value in itself, and this is where Smeg currently has a distinct advantage in the luxury end of the property market. The brand war, then, is really being waged in the mid-range properties, where price points matter the most.