Whirlpool which filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to call for initiating a safeguard on Korean washing machines was being shunned by consumers in the US market.
This means that Whirlpool decided to use a strategy to keep its US washer market share by resorting to US authorities after judging that its US market share would be on a downward spiral while failing to catch up with LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics.
It has been found on December 4 that washers of LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics outperformed Whirlpool washers in the brand reliability of drum washing machines (front-loaders) in a recent report by Consumer Reports (CR), a major consumer information media outlet in the US.
More than 33,000 people who used drum washing machines of LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Whirlpool, GE (General Electric of the US) and Electrolux (Sweden) for more than five years trusted LG Electronics washers (14%) most. In the Consumer Reports survey, a percentage (%) is a kind of a 'failure rate estimate,’ which means that the lower a percentage of a washer company is, the higher the company’s reliability is.
Samsung Electronics's drum washing machines (18%) were also more reliable than those of Whirlpool (20%). In the drum washing machine category, only Frigidaire drum washers (the US, 25%) well known for its budget-friendly drum washers, received a lower score than those of Whirlpool.
In the top-loader sector where 15,000 people participated in the survey, LG Electronics ranked first with 14%. LG Electronics was followed by Whirlpool (19%) and Samsung Electronics (23%).
In the drum washing machine sector where LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics outclassed Whirlpool in terms of brand credibility, premium products from around the world are fiercely competing in the US, the world's largest washing machine market. Brand reputations among consumers are directly linked to average selling prices (ASPs).
In fact, according to Best Buy, the number one distributor of consumer electronics in the US, premium drum washers with the highest price range of US$1,500 to US$1,999.99 were only four LG Electronics models and two Samsung Electronics models on December 4. No Whirlpool model made the list.
Whirlpool strongly emphasized that the US manufacturing industry had been seriously damaged by low prices of washers of LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics when petitioning the ITC to trigger a safeguard on Korean washing machines in May. However, the Consumer Reports survey showed that Whirlpool washers were not well received by US consumers and generally cheaper than Korean washing machines.
Last year, Whirlpool, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics accounted for 38.4%, 16.2% and 13.1%, respectively, of the US washing machine market. In the third quarter, Whirlpool, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics recorded markets shares of 37.7%, 17.1% and 13.5%, respectively. This means that only Whirlpool’s share went down.
"Korean washing machine sells at prices 30% higher on average than those of Whirlpool," said an official in the Korean washing machine industry. “The ITC accepted most of Whirlpool's claims and announced a 50% tariff recommendation.”