A season of good…gifts

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At Christmas, a season of good will and personal indulgence, retailers’ offers should include the latest and best products with which manufactures have been whetting customers’ appetites in the recent months. Anna Ryland examines the best of Christmas offers.

This year consumer expectations have been driven by high quality devices including smartphones and tablets which are equipped with a constantly growing range of apps. “Freesat’s has learnt from these products.  We have an appealing, but simple user interface backed by cutting edge technology.  Our service allows catch up content to be viewed on the TV, not on your laptop for instance,” says Emma Scott, managing director of Freesat.

Among numerous features of the new Freesat service is a ‘Backwards’ TV guide enabling viewers to watch programmes that have already been screened and an ‘at a glance’ Now & Next view for current viewing.  It incorporates on demand television from BBC iPlayer and ITV Player and improved recordings that make it even easier to record TV at a touch of a button.

is available in the latest generation of Freesat+ boxes, such as the new Humax set-top box that has just been launched in time for Christmas. 

“Our independent retail partners have always been central to our retail strategy and this Christmas is no exception. We have a range of plans including Point of Sale and visual merchandising support and tips via our specific Retail Support Hub: (http://retailsupporthub.freesat.co.uk/),” explains Emma Scott.

Pure has recently launched its first TV product, the Avalon 300R Connect, which will be in stores in time for Christmas. Avalon 300R Connect is a high-performance, easy-to-use Freeview+ HD digital TV recorder with unique user interface and the latest versions of  BBC iPlayer and YouTube, and full integration with Pure’s leading internet radio and music services.

The manufacturer has also just launched Jongo, its first mainstream multiroom audio product family.  The Jongo system allows users to distribute synchronised music and audio to multiple devices from a single source, including the new Pure Connect App for iPad, iPhone and Android, as well as an increasing number of Pure’s connected products.

“Streaming is fast taking over as the way that customers want to enjoy their audio content, and is set to dominate the market. As a result, we are focusing on increasing our range of products with Apple Airplay as well as our new Jongo multiroom family. We would encourage independent retailers to ensure they are set up to demonstrate these new streaming technologies effectively to customers,” advises Colin Crawford, Pure’s marketing director.

This Christmas Roberts will focus on sound systems and DAB products with the added benefit of iPod docking.  “In the current climate, consumers are more considered than ever when it comes to making a purchase, however this does mean that people are looking to make sure that they get value for money and are turning to brands they know and trust.  This gives independents an opportunity to encourage people to invest in quality products with added benefits,” comments Owen Watters, deputy chief executive at Roberts.

Roberts is introducing a new Sound System in time for Christmas with an attractive price point to drive sales. Housed in a cube design, with two wooden speakers and a remote, Sound 70 allows to listen to music anyway people like.  It features DAB/FM for tuning into favourite radio stations, an iPod docking station that charges simultaneously, CD and aux in for MP3 players and smartphones.

“‘Convergence’ is the future of audio products, offering consumers varied music solutions which in turn demonstrate true value for money for these superior products.  We have an impressive range of sound systems that fulfill these criteria and see this as a big opportunity.  Also audio with iPod docking solutions continue to perform well,” concludes Owen Watters.

The Revival DAB is always a popular gift purchase and this Christmas Roberts will offer the new Cath Kidston model featuring Kempton Rose Fabric which is likely be have a great appeal to the ladies.

Samsung Digital Appliances UK will be running a new ‘Reward Yourself’ promotion throughout November, in which customers purchasing selected products across Samsung’s latest range of home appliances will also get a 22in Samsung Smart TV.

The ‘Reward Yourself’ promotion will be available to customers in the lead up to Christmas who purchase any 12kg ecobubble washing machine or G-Series three door refrigerator.

In time for Christmas and to celebrate the release of an all-favourite movie – Titanic 3D launching on Blu-ray, Panasonic is offering not only Titanic 3D but also Avatar on the Blu-ray disc, for customers who will buy a selected  2012 Panasonic Smart Blu-ray products, including  as Blu-ray players, Blu-ray home theatres and Blu-ray recorders.

Seasonal treats in the kitchen

Perfect for Christmas gifting will also be the new range of small domestic appliances from Panasonic – the kettle, toaster and coffee maker – that are challenging established design conventions. The range incorporates a number of colour options to suit different style preferences and budgets; from high gloss white or black to violet glass finish.

Panasonic’s toaster has a dual grill function suitable for different bread slice sizes, and comes with a built-in warming rack for croissants and buns.

The new Panasonic kettle has an unique square design and a glass water level window for easy viewing. The kettle sits on a rotating power base for 360̊ use and tidy placement against a wall. Marking a new trend and return to quality filter coffee, the new Panasonic coffee maker allows to prepare quickly and efficiently good quality coffee.

The recently launched AEG coffee machine, A Modo Mio Favola Cappuccino, manufactured in collaboration with the Italian producer Lavazza, will be promoted with a £30 cash back  at Christmas. Based on Lavazza’s capsule system, the machine has new milk frothing system that dispenses cappuccions and café lattes at the touch of a button.

AEG will also be promoting Powermix Silent blender that features a patented sound reduction system which makes the powerful blender quieter than any other on the market today. It is so quiet; you can talk while using it and still be heard.  While today’s blenders produce an average of 85-95 dB, the Powermix Silent works at just 77dB. 

AEG 5Safety Irons will also make a good gift during the partying season as they not only offer a powerful steam output (with 605 steam holes in the soleplate) but also a 3-way safety auto-off system with an integrated alarm function that draws attention to potential risks and helps to avoid accidents.

For an easy and unobtrusive way of cleaning up after the season’s festivities and restoring the house to order before next group of guests arrives, Bosch offers the super silent range – the GS50 – of bagless vacuums. The compressed motor technology means that guests and children won’t be disturbed while the hosts are vacuuming.   The Pet Hair & Carpet Red and the Pro Power Black incorporate a powerful 2200W motor and trubo brush (the Pet Hair model) for excellent performance. They also have double Hepa filtration/Gore filtration (Pro Power model) and Sensor Bagless technology for optimum performance.

“The growing trend of staying in and entertaining at home, resulting from people being more careful with money, means they are more likely to spend on the home and home appliances, especially during Christmas,” argues Millie Quickenden, marketing manager kitchen appliances, Philips UK.

During the 2012 Christmas season, Philips will be promoting the new HomeCooker which was c
o-created by Philips and Jamie Oliver. It is a multi-functional device developed to help busy families enjoy homemade fresh meals. The HomeCooker chops, stirs, steams and sautés and can be left cooking unattended thanks to new AutoStir technology. 

Also available this year is the new look Philips airfryer which now comes with a digital display. Rapid Air technology means that traditionally fried food can now be cooked with 80% less oil. Cooking enthusiasts can also enjoy the new Philips Avance Juicer that makes home juicing fast and fuss free. Easy to clean and with no cutting or peeling required, it is perfect for those looking for a healthy start to the New Year.

The range of Gaggia manual coffee machines and Saeco Automatic coffee machines are also key for the Christmas season. Designed with style and function in mind, Gaggia coffee machines are the ultimate gift for coffee enthusiasts who like to make the perfect cup, whilst the Saeco machines let consumers enjoy their coffee at the touch of a button.

For Christmas 2012, Prestige is focussing on two product ranges within the SDA assortment, the Daytona range of kettles and toasters and the Eco kettle.

The colourful Daytona range will brighten any kitchen. It consists of 1.5l cordless kettles and four-slice toasters. The kettle features a powerful 3kw rapid boil element which eliminates time-wasting when making that much-needed cuppa.    

The Eco 1.7L kettle can save time, money and energy with its energy-saving features and 3kw boil element. Its eco features include the ability to start and stop immediately; boil water for just one cup of tea and measure the required amount of water accurately using its illuminated water gauge.

The Daytona kettle will be available at a special price of £40, which gives the consumer a £10 saving off the regular retail price. The four slice toaster can also be purchased at £45, again giving a £10 saving. The Eco range has a special offer, buy four of each item in red (kettle, 2 slice toaster, 4 slice toaster and multi tool) and receive a pack of Eco kettles free.

Meanwhile Tefal’s Fresh Express is back on TV with an advertising campaign which will run in the pre-Christmas sales period from 9 November to 13 December.

Designed to reinforce the TV campaign in spring this year, the advertising  will once again focus on the healthy eating benefits derived from using the Fresh Express which enables the user to grate and slice vegetables in a flash, paving the way to easy-to-make, healthy meals without the effort of manual food preparation.

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