Panasonic sees premium washers key to boost sales in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Japan's Panasonic Corp. is projecting premium washing machines will be the main driver boosting its washer sales in Thailand by more than 20 percent this year.

The company is seeking to penetrate the Thai premium washing machine segment as it accounts for 55 percent of the whole washer market and is anticipated to grow 8 percent this year, according to Takeshi Nomoto, managing director of local sales arm Panasonic A.P. Sales (Thailand) Co.

Panasonic expects its washer sales to reach 2.2 billion baht ($64 million) for a 22 percent leap this year over 2016, with 57 percent of the total expected to come from premium models, including those with enhanced hygiene and antibacterial functions.

The Japanese electronics giant showcased its washing machine lineup for this year at a press conference on Wednesday, with 70 percent of the 22 new models involved being premium types compared with only 30 percent in the past.

According to Panasonic, its premium washing machine sales have grown to constitute more than 50 percent of its total washer sales due to rising demand among high-end consumers giving priority to technology, design and functions.

Panasonic considers premium market penetration for electrical appliances as its core marketing strategy in Thailand. The company previously said it will mainly encourage sales of premium air-conditioners and refrigerators this year.

Panasonic, currently ranked fourth in the Thai washing machine market with a 15 percent share, aims to grab third place with 18 percent this year. South Korea's LG Corp. is the market leader.

The Thai electrical appliance market will likely grow 5 percent this year under the lead of washing machines, according to Nomoto.

The local washing machine market is expected to reach 12.3 billion baht this year, up 5 percent from 2016. (NNA/Kyodo)