Seasonal offers

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Even during the recession the tradition of Christmas indulgences is not going to disappear. Anna Ryland finds out how manufacturers are planning to tempt customers during this Christmas season.

A radio has always been a popular Christmas present. As digital radio now accounts for 27% of listening and with DAB products coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are more suitable for seasonal gifting then before. Moreover the leading manufacturers will be supporting their Christmas offers with a variety of promotions.

Roberts’ seasonal line-up includes the Vintage model which blends retro styling with modern DAB/FM technologies, offering unlimited station presets and a favourite station button. A perfect gift for the ladies would be the latest Cath Kidston Revival edition featuring the new ‘Provence’ print.

Roberts’ radio alarm clocks, Dream Dock and Dreamtime II, will be a welcome gift for anyone. Boasting excellent audio performance, they come with a remote control and favourite station button. Dream Dock is compatible with iPod/iPhone/iTouch. Meanwhile Roberts’ Record R allows the user to record DAB and FM radio onto an SD card, so they can record whatever they want and play it back whenever they like. A different product proposition from Roberts is the Message R DAB/FM radio, a digital tuning clock radio which lets users record voice messages, which is perfect if they suddenly remember something whilst in the midst of cooking. They can even set a time for the voice memo to go off.

Among Pure’s Christmas offers is the Twilight, a bedside digital and FM radio with dawn simulator and lullabies. It is an ideal gift for parents as Twilight has flexible lighting options, radio alarm clock and features built-in Pure sounds and lullabies. For the fashion conscious, Pure has EVOKE Mio by Orla Kiely in Abacus Flower edition and a Stem print model.

For the ‘connected’ generation, Pure has Sensia, portable internet and FM radio with a high-resolution touchscreen. It plays thousands of stations and on-demand programmes from all around the world, music streamed from a computer and displays broadcast slideshows. For customers searching for the best audio the manufacturer recommends Contour, a dock for iPod/Phone with FM and internet radio, and Evoke-1S Marshall – a radio that ‘really rocks’.

Seasonal gadgets

Tablets are undoubtedly the most desirable gadgets this Christmas season.

Sony will be promoting its S and P tablets. The Tablet S is designed for rich media entertainment on its 9.4in high resolution touchscreen display. A Wi-Fi/3G version of Tablet S will be available this month. The Tablet P is geared up for mobile communication entertainment, with an innovative folding design and dual screens for maximum portability. Weighing 372g, the Tablet P offers connectivity via Wi-Fi and 3G mobile networks. Dual 5.5ub touchscreen displays can be folded to fit in a pocket or a handbag.

Meanwhile Samsung seasonal promotions will focus on its latest Galaxy Tab 10.1 along with a range of accessories, including a keyboard, a desk dock and an in-car charger. Available in both 3G and WiFi only versions, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 features the latest version of Android, Honeycomb 3.1. It features a 10.1in WXGA TFT LCD screen, weighs only 565g and its screen is only 8.6 millimetres thick. It supports network speeds of up to 21Mbps and Wi-Fi 802.11 connectivity. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is ideal for Christmas entertainment: watching movies, playing games, reading e-books, browsing the web or staying connected with email and messaging services.

A very special proposition from Sony is ‘creation of your own’ VAIO laptop using Sony’s Configure to Order (CTO) service. By visiting customers can select options to suit their own style, from screen resolution to processor speed and chassis finish, or complete the same process in a UK Sony Centre store with expert help and advice from Sony’s sales consultants.

In a frame

The Christmas season always provides many opportunities for creative photography so new cameras always feature on seasonal wish lists.

Sony’s NEX-C3 camera is the perfect present for the style-conscious. It is not only one of the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital cameras but it also captures HD movies and features 3D Sweep Panorama, allowing panoramic shots to be played back on a 3DTV.

Samsung’s seasonal offer will centre on two models: the fun and innovative MultiView MV800 compact camera and the high spec NX200 Compact System Camera – a 20.3MP camera. The Samsung MultiView features a 3.0in wide touch-screen flip-out display that enables photographers to capture shots from any angle, which is also perfect for self-portraits. The camera detects whether it is being held in landscape or portrait mode and adjusts accordingly. The Live Panorama function is ideal for scenic shots, letting users preview the whole scene that’s been captured. The NX200 delivers DSLR performance, yet it’s sleek and compact enough to fit in a handbag. The NX200 has Samsung’s i-Function 2.0 lenses which means the user can ‘toggle’ between shutter speed, aperture and other functions, without taking their eyes off the shot.

In the period leading to Christmas Panasonic will be promoting its HD camcorders (which feature compatibility with a 3D conversion lens) by offering £50 cash back on purchases of selected HD camcorder models.

Smart TV at Christmas

Christmas is also the best time to make the big CE investments and 3DTV is the latest buzz word. The Sony KDL-HX923 comes complete with two pairs of 3D glasses, Bunchin 2.1 stand and Skype camera enabling the user to discover peak picture performance in both 2D and 3D with Full High Definition. The BRAVIA Internet Video platform allows the user to catch up with all their favourite Christmas shows with BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, LOVEFiLM, YouTube and talk to friends and family via Skype, Twitter and Facebook. 

Meanwhile Samsung will be promoting its Smart TV series adding more content to the Smart TV platform.  Samsung Apps is the world’s first HDTV-based application store offering many apps across sports, entertainment, information, games and social networking. Recent additions have included lifestyle apps such as Teletext Holidays and Rightmove through to 3D Video-on-Demand service, which offers consumers 3D content free.

Panasonic will also be promoting internet television with its Smart Viera TVs campaign which “will illustrate a smooth and more defined finish. What you can do presently on iPad, you will start to be able to on TVs” comments Panasonic spokesperson. The manufacturer will be offering savings on its 3D packages on selected 3D models and will continue with a five-year warranty offer until 8 January 2012.

The main focus for LG during the 2011 Christmas period will be its latest home entertainment products, the LW980T TV and HX906TX 3D home cinema system.  Together these products combine the best in 2D, 3D and
Smart TV. The LW980T series offers NANO FULL LED technology for superior image quality and features both cinema 3D and Smart TV. The unique NANO FULL LED screen creates brighter and smoother pictures and allows the TV design to be slimmer than ever before. 

The HX906TX 3D home cinema system has a 9.1 speaker system, bringing 360º sound into the living room, providing the closest audio experience to that of the cinema. A feature which LG will also be promoting to gamers is Dual Play. It means that customers no longer need to watch 3D games in split-screen when playing with two players. Using LG’s special Dual Play glasses, both players can play using a full screen.

Christmas in the kitchen

There isn’t a better time to invest in a state-of-the art food preparation equipment than at Christmas. The small appliance market has always seen an uplift in sales during the period leading to Christmas and all retailers should capitalize on this opportunity.

Philips will be promoting the innovative Airfryer which uses Rapid Air technology to ‘fry’ food without extra oil. It now comes with a baking tray so they can cook anything from bread to brownies as well as a range of traditionally fried food including chips and chicken nuggets. It is quick to heat up and allows consumers to prepare a variety of healthy homemade food and snacks in next to no time.

Cooking enthusiasts can also enjoy the new Philips Viva Collection Hand blender that is perfect for blending and chopping food at home. Designed with 650W of power and a double-action blade it glides through even the toughest ingredients.

The range of Gaggia manual and automatic coffee machines is also the key Philips offer for the Christmas season. Designed with style, attention to detail and function in mind, Gaggia coffee machines are the ultimate gift for coffee lovers. They range from the automatic Accademia, which remembers users’ coffee and milk preferences, to the stylish Gaggia Colour, available in festive red, a manual coffee machine and the iconic stainless steel Gaggia Classic.

Also Groupe SEB, the owner of the Krups and Tefal brands, will be promoting Krups coffee and hot drink makers, such as multi beverage coffee systems ie the Nescafe Dolce Gusto by Krups Piccolo and Creativa and bean to cup espresso machines, such as the Krups Compact Espresseria.

Coordinated ranges of kettles and toasters are also popular pre-Christmas purchases, such as the new Tefal Classique ranges available in three colours, red, blue, and bronze pearl finishes.

“As consumers look to extend their healthy life style during the Christmas period and into the New Year, products such as the new Tefal ActiFry Plus fryer (ActiFry is the best selling small kitchen appliance) offers a 20% larger capacity whilst still producing brilliant chips with only 3% fat. Perfect for a Boxing Day lunch of cold turkey and chips,” suggests Marina Wong, product manager of Groupe SEB UK.

Meanwhile, Morphy Richards will be supporting its recently launched innovation – the Accents One Cup ­– with direct marketing and social media activities. This is a compact hot water dispenser that boils a cup of water in under 30 seconds. Its compact size means it’s a great addition to the kitchen or office, for using around the home or perfect for student living. The product is available in red or black and as part of the Accents collection from Morphy Richards, can be bought with a matching kettle and toaster.

MPL Home (formerly Sensio Home), capitalising on the seasonal interest in home baking, will be promoting its new range of electrical home-baking products, Sweet Treats, designed to give the family hours of fun in the kitchen – and some great ideas for Christmas gifts.  Sweet Treats includes a Mini Cup Cake Maker, a Whoopie Pie Maker; Brownie Maker; Cake Pops Maker; Brownie Bites Maker; Zoo Waffle Maker and a Popcorn Maker. MPL Home also manufactures Gordon Ramsay kitchen appliances and in the pre-Christmas season will be educating customers about Gordon’s new Electric Slow Cooker & Tagine – a unique product that combines a Tagine Cooking pot and a slow cooker that allows passionate home cooks to create aromatic dishes of Morocco. Its versatility allows users to cook everything in the one pot and leave the appliance to cook the chosen meal all day on a low setting once they are away.

Finally, responding to the returning consumers’ interest in bread making, Panasonic has launched for the Christmas season the new SDZB-2502, the ultimate bread-making machine. Combining the features of Panasonic’s popular bread makers with a new design, which includes an angled easy-to-use control panel, along with a new yeast dispenser to ensure optimum quality bread, and for those who enjoy making their own preserves, a new jam and compote mode. A specialty spelt mode also allows complete baking freedom along with the Rye and Brioche modes, and automatic raisin and nut dispenser.

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