Shush, don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret…
Globalisation is a funny old thing that throws up some interesting collaborations, some of them are good and some, well not so good at all and then there’s the disasters.
For the appliance industry it could be argued that a huge benefit to consumers is that they can buy products in relative terms far cheaper today than they probably ever could and, that’s fine except for some little snags we’d will point out.
The first of course is that the name you see on the box these days (and for many years in some cases) is not who actually made the product at all.
A while back we published a large article on own label brands to explain to buyers what the score was with the seemingly endless parade of appliance brands that nobody has ever heard of or, rarely has along with perhaps familiar sounding names but, not so much with appliances in mind.
It is now time to look at the big brands.
Rebranded - The Movie
We got so much hassle over talking about this topic that we decied to take the stance that, if nobody is doign anythign wrong, it's all legit, above board and so on that really, nobody should have a problem with it.
Seems we may be wrong. Some still ain't happy at all that we talk openly about this subject.
So we decided that if it was ruffling that many feathers, we'd make it into a movie as well, just for kicks.
This gives you the highlights and where we're coming from but, there is a lot more info in this article and throughout the website than just in this video but, you'll get the point...
The thing about big brands is that they don’t like to be left out when there’s a party going on, they want their slice of the pie.
So lets think about bagless vacuum cleaners to illustrate what we mean.
A certain Brit decided he was going to become a vacuum cleaner god and so it was. He gave up trying to flog his zany idea to the big boys and went out and did it all himself and it became a great success. The dude made millions and bought a house with a swimming pool, all good.
The big brands by now realised that they’d missed the boat and desperately tried to catch up as, the company they regarded as a joke was either now too big to buy or they refused to sell it.
Here’s the point, they would buy it just to cash in.
Instead they have been forced to compete and come up with similar or better products but from a position so far behind that catching up may never be possible now.
That is however a very rare thing in the world of appliances.
Normally what will happen is that the big brand will see a pile of market share or something they want like a unique product for themselves and just buy it, occasionally getting into a bidding war to achieve that.
When neither of those can happen or it’s not worth the expense, here’s what happens.
Buy It, Badge It
When a large or larger manufacturer of appliances needs to range a product they don’t have they have the option as above but, if they don’t think they’ll sell through enough to justify buying a company or indeed investing potentially millions in a plant o line to produce it, they simply buy it in from another manufacturer.
Think about cars by way of an example. It’s more collaborative than the appliance world but the same general idea, you can have the same basic platform being used across a plethora of different car brands.
The reason is simple, there’s not enough profit in it to justify all the R&D, development and production costs for each manufacturer to make some products and all the more so if they only sell in a few regions of the world. It makes much more commercial sense to just buy them in and compete with what’s there.
Only, it’s often not that simple.
There are a whole bunch of factors that can be in play here, such as a large builder contract where a specific requirement is not one that Manufacturer A can accommodate with the stuff they make so, to win the contract, they buy in whatever it is they need from Manufacturer B with their name slapped on it.
Mostly we will see this on built in or integrated appliances where the demand in the retail space isn’t especially high but if you want to get into kitchen companies and builders, it’s essential.
But it can go further than this.
Pulling The Wool
For buyer this means that they can often never be sure that what they think they’re buying is actually being produced or made by the company who’s name is on and, whom they think they are buying it from.
Okay so if you look for the articles on range cookers and American style side by side fridge freezers they explain it well as in both cases, there’s a handful of companies that actually make these products but, lots of brands that sell them.
For most people they’d have not a clue who really made it.
Many people might think, why should I even care? Good question, let’s answer that.
Let’s think about a Chinese made side by side just as an example today, just as we publish this article. We could buy that under a “prestige” name for £1968 or more or less the same machine under a different brand name for only £749.
Or, how about a German brand selling an American side by side for a good few hundred pounds more than the real Korean producer? Or a premium Italian brand selling Turkish or Korean ones for up to almost a £1000 more?
That’s why you should care.
If a bit of fancy aesthetics and a fancy badge name is what you’re willing to pay over £1200 for, fill your boots as they say.
If not, you need to research.
We don’t like the wool pulled over out eyes, we don’t like to be ripped off or to feel as if we have been and we’d guess most readers wouldn’t either.
That is merely a few such examples, there’s loads more where that came from.
Is it legal? Yes.
Is it ethical? Well only you can make your mind up on that front.
Is it profiteering? We wouldn’t like to say.
Are there any appliance companies that never buy and have never bought branded goods? No, none, all of them have or do.
The pertinent points being that all too often people have little idea that they are not buying an appliance that they assume (because the brand name is plastered all over it) from the company that they might think they are and, they could often save themselves from was little as £10 to way over £1000 with a little bit or research.
Finding Out About It
Before you buy, if you really want to know what you’re buying and from who, just use the forums and ask, that’s what they’re there for.
No manufacturer or brand name is going to tell you that they buy in products, badge them up and flog them at higher prices, they’d be mad to do that. And, legally there is absolutely no requirement whatsoever for them to do so either so, they ain’t gonna do it!
They will however happily take your cash, as will the retailer.
If you don’t check, who’s fault is it?
About the only saving grace here is that often times, when you need parts or whatever, we can often and wherever possible, cross reference the parts to buy it from the cheapest supplier and, there can be substantial savings there to be made.
As we are fiercely independent we are not tied to a single source for any spare part and can buy from any supplier that we choose meaning, we don’t have to stick with the manufacturer RRP or even cost prices.
This is good for our customers sure but in a good many cases and, we hate to admit it, we know that a lot of people got completely fleeced when they bought the machine in the first place and that saddens us.