A new Whirlpool Corporation study shows that consumers really want innovations that improve their lives at home. With the world’s largest consumer electronics event kicking off this week, many new stylish and high-tech gadgets will be revealed to the world. However, the study of more than 19,000 people across 10 countries found that consumers truly value innovations that use less energy (40 percent) and have a lower carbon footprint (35 percent), followed by saving money (32 percent) or time (26 percent).
When thinking specifically about home appliances, the results showed—cost and brand aside—a majority of consumers value energy and water efficiency (51 percent), highlighting the need for sustainable products that don’t compromise on size or capacity.
When we talk about the promise of smart appliances, it’s not just about connecting different appliances to each other or to phones and home assistants, it’s about creating useful ecosystems that connect with utilities and other services to make consumers’ lives run more smoothly and have less environmental impact.”
“At Whirlpool Corporation our approach to innovation brings people what they want and need to improve their lives at home while being better for the environment,” said Pam Klyn, Sr. Vice President of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability. “For example, a lot of companies are designing products that connect many different “things” in the home, but they aren’t all meaningful to consumers’ everyday lives. We visualize a home ecosystem with a conscience—a mix of smart home appliances and emerging technologies, that deliver energy, cost and time savings.”
With Whirlpool Corporation appliances in more than 70 percent of U.S. households,1 the company sees the potential of connected products, but with only five percent of smart features enabled, the benefits are currently untapped.
“When we talk about the promise of smart appliances, it’s not just about connecting different appliances to each other or to phones and home assistants, it’s about creating useful ecosystems that connect with utilities and other services to make consumers’ lives run more smoothly and have less environmental impact,” said Shree Dandekar, Whirlpool Corporation’s Sr. Vice President of Engineering and Innovation. “For instance, we envision smart washers and dryers, as well as dishwashers, that can be set to run in non-peak hours to save on electric costs while delivering the product performance consumers depend upon from Whirlpool.”
The study found that in addition to choosing sustainable products, consumers are prepared to change their behavior to reduce their environmental impact, supporting what trend expert Erica Orange calls “enviralmentalism,” where people channel their genuine concerns about the environment into action. Two-thirds of consumers (67 percent) are reducing or reusing single use plastics, and nearly half (48 percent) want to do this more in the next year, with the same amount wanting to reduce their water consumption. Almost two thirds (63 percent) are reducing weekly laundry loads, saving water and energy, and 42 percent want to decrease this even further.
“It’s encouraging to see people taking action,” said Ron Voglewede, Whirlpool Corporation’s Global Sustainability Director. “Our appliances sit at the heart of homes, and when thinking about society’s biggest challenges, we have an opportunity to play a unique role. We’re developing innovations that increase the quantities of recycled or recyclable materials in our products, work with sustainable suppliers, send less waste to recycling and reuse materials from products at their end of life. Innovating in this way has been part of our DNA for more than 110 years.”
This purposeful approach has led to innovations such as an update over the internet to connected appliances in consumers’ homes to add new functionality for an air-frying feature on convection ovens. Whirlpool brand’s Sixth Sense technology, which uses intelligent sensors to adapt the washing time and temperature according to the size and type of load, is helping consumers to save time, energy and water. Another innovation making life better is the company’s true ventless heat pump dryer, with one of the highest efficiency ratings in the company’s portfolio.
Whirlpool Corporation also takes an innovative approach to its social impact initiatives, called House + Home, with the company placing energy-efficient appliances in homes through its long-standing collaboration with Habitat for Humanity International and Homes for our Troops in the U.S. A study conducted by Habitat for Humanity for Whirlpool Corporation showed that putting energy efficient refrigerators and ranges in low income households can result in a reduction of more than 20 percent in their annual electric costs for those appliances.2
1. Based on 2020 Whirlpool Corporation consumer survey among households having income of $30k or more. Survey of 2000 General consumers in the U.S. conducted by Censuswide between 18-30 Nov. 2021. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
2. Whirlpool House + Home Donated Product Energy Efficiency Study. October, 2021