Adapting to the Changing Home Appliance Landscape: Samsung and Dacor Experts Share Their Thoughts on the Future of Design at KBIS 2023

on February 7, 2023
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At KBIS 2023, the premiere trade show for the kitchen and bath industry, Samsung Electronics showcased the latest additions to its kitchen portfolio that combine robust customization options with intelligent connectivity.


As part of its showcase, Samsung offered a glimpse at what the future may hold for the home appliance industry through an illuminating panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Pamela McNally, SVP of Marketing and Digital at the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), with panelists including Shane Higby, Vice President for Home Appliance Product Marketing at Samsung Electronics America, Gary So, Vice President of Demand Generation at Samsung Electronics America and Geraldine Morrison, Executive Director of Dacor.


The panelists took the stage as part of KBIS’s NEXT Stage event, a showcase for leading kitchen and bath industry experts to discuss the latest trends affecting the industry today and what they expect to be influencing the industry tomorrow.


Read on to learn more about their discussion and the future of home appliances.


▲ (left to right) Moderator Pamela McNally and panelists Shane Higby, Gary So and Geraldine Morrison at Samsung’s KBIS 2023 panel discussion.



Charting the Future of the Home Appliance Landscape

* Please note that the following responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.




Pamela McNally The appliance landscape has changed significantly over the past few years. How has Samsung been adapting to these changes?


Shane Higby It certainly has changed, and I would humbly suggest that Samsung has been leading some of that change in a few key areas. The first is sustainability, the second is connectivity and the third is design.


Sustainability is a very critical corporate initiative for us. Approximately 260 Samsung appliances are ENERGY STAR® certified, 43 of which received have received the “Most Efficient” award.1 Recently, SmartThings Energy was given the first-ever Smart Home Energy Management Systems (SHEMS) certification, which we’re very proud of. In the area of connectivity, over 80% of our appliances are connected, which includes Family Hub.


In the area of design, our Bespoke lineup offers consumers a choice  one that didn’t really exist in the home appliance space previously  to bring new colors and materials into the kitchen. This emphasis on customizable designs empowers them to personalize their kitchen to suit their lifestyle.




McNally Could you share more about Samsung’s approach to design in today’s home appliance market?


Gary So What we’ve been seeing is that, in the last couple of years, consumers have been spending a lot more time at home. And in many ways, their relationships with appliances have changed dramatically. Pre-pandemic, the approach to design was a lot more functionally driven and a lot more utilitarian. Post-pandemic, designs have moved on to become much more about expression. Rather than just products to cook and clean with, consumers are seeing appliances as an extension of who they are and their design aesthetic.


What’s interesting is that we’re seeing this shift toward customization permeate all age groups. Certainly for millennial home buyers, customization is a lot more natural, but we’re also seeing older consumers embrace the trend. We think this adoption is in large part due to the wide range of options Bespoke provides.


With the Bespoke Design Simulator, consumers can choose custom color panels that open up design possibilities, whether it’s a clean, one-toned option or a more expressive option with multiple tones. We also just announced MyBespoke, which allows users to print their own custom pictures onto panels for a truly personalized experience. Customization in terms of design is truly endless with Bespoke, and we think that this trend is here to stay.


“What’s interesting is that we’re seeing this shift toward customization permeate all age groups.”


We’ve also noticed that following the introduction of Bespoke, there’s been a challenge to the traditional notion of appliances that are all matching with each other. Users don’t feel the need to have all stainless or all black appliances at home. In fact, many of our customers are using Bespoke refrigerators as standalone statement pieces in the kitchen and mixing and matching other products for a more expressive look.


Furthermore, with our home spaces serving so many different functions today, Bespoke customers know that having a personalized home design means the space is always fitting no matter the time of day, serving as a place for breakfast in the morning with family, an office to take video calls in during the day and then back to dinner time with the family at night.


Importantly, we’re still able to combine functionality with aesthetics. Whether it’s an internal beverage center or recessed door handles, Bespoke offers a simple, clean design with a premium feel that fits into any environment  traditional or contemporary. That’s the future: appliances that can reflect personal aesthetics, giving consumers a way to create a design that says something about themselves.



McNally Shane, let’s circle back to your earlier insight regarding Samsung and the connected home.


Higby The connected home is not something new; I’ve mentioned that some 80% of our appliances are connected in some way. What we’re trying to do with connectivity is simplifying it as much as possible for consumers because it can come across as complex and daunting. For example, when you’re doing laundry, our connected laundry appliances can send you a notification when the wash is done and it’s time to switch it to the dryer. You can even schedule the laundry machine to start at a later time, so that when you come home from work, the clothes have not been sitting there damp all day long. Other use cases include starting your dishwasher at night if you don’t want to hear it running. With ranges, you can preheat them while you’re at work, so when you get home, it’s ready to cook dinner.


“What we’re trying to do with connectivity is simplifying it as much as possible for consumers because it can come across as complex and daunting.”


We also have some great functionality with SmartThings Home Care. Our appliances can give you notifications through SmartThings if they sense something might be wrong: overdue maintenance, an open door on an appliance or something else. It’s extra peace of mind.




McNally So far, we’ve discussed the changes in approaches to design and connectivity within the industry. How do these areas apply to luxury appliances?


Geraldine Morrison Design is paramount for the luxury consumer. At Dacor, we work with the world’s top designers to ensure that we’re using the best materials, finishes and truly the best everything in our products because that’s the standard our customers expect. This enables customers to bring their design visions to life. It’s really about preference: whether it’s something clean and recessed that disappears into the space or something extravagant that makes a statement, we have all the options available.


“We work with top designers and use the best materials and finishes because it enables customers to bring their design visions to life.”


With regards to connectivity, Dacor appliances benefit by being on Samsung’s SmartThings platform. Consumers want to know the best way to use their appliances but also keep track of what they’re doing. That’s what we deliver with Dacor.


Our wine cellars, for example, can send notifications about the status of your wine, and our refrigerators can tell you what’s inside your refrigerator at any time using built-in cameras. It’s about providing intuitive, meaningful innovations that allow customers to enjoy an elevated lifestyle with the freedom to get onto doing other things they want to do.



McNally Finally, I’d love to hear what’s new in 2023 for both Samsung and Dacor, as well as what you feel the future landscape of appliances will look like.


Higby In the Bespoke portfolio of products, there are a few new things coming in terms of refrigeration and otherwise. In refrigeration, we’re introducing a Bespoke Side-by-Side refrigerator for consumers looking for a premium look in a lower-budget option. It will offer a new Auto Open Door, making it more convenient to open and close the larger doors. Also, new is the 32” Family Hub refrigerator. The new Family Hub features an FHD, bezel-less screen that’s twice as big as the previous model but still blends seamlessly into the appliance. Taking advantage of that new screen, users can do more at once, such as using the new picture-in-picture feature to watch videos on YouTube while creating a shopping list.


There’s also a brand-new wall oven coming out with a first-of-its-kind camera inside so you can monitor your cooking and baking. By pairing the camera with AI technology, the oven can recognize what’s inside and recommend cooking settings accordingly. Users can even share their cooking videos on social media with their friends thanks to SmartThings integration.


We also have other products for the kitchen and the rest of the home in the works, so stay tuned.


Morrison With Dacor customers, we’re seeing a lot of creativity regarding how appliances are being used. Some of our users may have two kitchen setups at home, one for regular use and one for show for special occasions  or one for “go” and one for “show,” as we like to say. You might have a wine cellar in the kitchen but a wine dispenser in the closet built-in for convenience. It’s really about meeting changing needs as we spend more time at home.


Luxury consumers have high standards, and the focus is versatility  they want that one ultimate, heavy-duty appliance that can do it all. Added to that, they want appliances that can provide precision outcomes, be it baking cookies or baking a turkey. Another trend in luxury is that bigger is better. We’re seeing a lot of interest in bigger capacities, as because we’re doing a lot of things at home, we need more space to do them in.


So, with our Transitional Line, we’re introducing a new 48-inch-wide range that offers the largest capacity with a full 36-inch cavity on one side that’s big enough to cook two turkeys. We’re also introducing a 48-inch built-in refrigerator to the Transitional Line with advanced features including 3D LED Lighting, a full metal interior, precision cooling and Fresh Zone + so that users can convert the space into a fridge or freezer depending on their needs. It also includes a new ice-making feature that makes whisky ball ice as well as ice cubes, which is a really unique feature and a perfect example of flexibility blended with elevated features.



KBIS’s NEXT Stage event provided the perfect platform for the panel of experts to discuss the future of home appliances and the trends that are shaping them. As trends shift toward a more flexible home environment, Samsung and Dacor’s innovative approaches to appliance design are providing ways for consumers to personalize and elevate their home spaces through customizable aesthetics, intuitive connectivity and sustainability.


Stay tuned to Samsung Newsroom for the latest news and updates on Samsung’s KBIS 2023 showcase and Bespoke appliances.



1 As of November 2022.

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