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Electronics giant Samsung to offer customised fridges

The South Korean giant will offer bespoke fridges in the US, Europe and Middle East in a bid to appeal to younger customers


Samsung, the South Korean multinational conglomerate, is realising the world is changing and is offering solutions with millennials in mind.

On 8 January, Samsung revealed its estimated operating profit for the three months ending in December likely rose 26 per cent from a year ago to US$8.22 billion in a media statement. It has seen a big increase in the sale of its fridges and cleaners during the coronavirus pandemic, as online sales rose 50 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“Among many things, your home has taken on a greater significance,” Sebastian Seung, President and Head of Samsung Research, told the virtual 2021 Consumer Electronics Show. He went on to acknowledge the different and new methods people have been harnessing to stay connected while staying at home.

“But what if that home, and those technologies in it, were actually built around you?”

Fridges that can be customised according to size, material and colour have been a hit in South Korea and will now be offered to customers in the US, Middle East and Europe later this year. The Samsung Bespoke 4­Door Flex refrigerator will be the first of its Bespoke product range to launch in the US market, the company said in a media statement.

“Samsung Bespoke 4­Door Flex comes with even more ways to customise your kitchen for both form and function,” Seung said of the refrigerator’s innovative design, which allows users to tailor the product to their own preferences with changeable panels.

Speciality fridges for kimchi (fermented cabbage) accounted for more than 67 per cent of the South Korean market last year.

“Customers had few options among products made by a traditional manufacturing system,” said Jaeseung Lee, Samsung’s President and Head of Digital Appliances Business. “Our way of manufacturing has to be changed for the personalisation of appliances. And that’s a big transition.”

Samsung, in addition the global top seller of smartphones, also offers bespoke wine coolers and dishwashers, and is one of the few companies offering bespoke electronics – it started with its The Frame television, which allows consumers to choose their own bezel.

In addition, Seung unveiled the Samsung Lifestyle TV line­up, designed with the understanding that, following the way the concept of the living space has changed over the past year, users’ needs have also changed as they require personalised product experiences everywhere in their homes.

“We think your TV should reflect these changes,” Seung said as he unveiled the brand­ new 110­inch MICRO LED, a slim and nearly bezel-­less screen packed with features to let users customise their space and experiences as they wish.

“Most people including millennials usually like personalised products. From small items like wallets, to high ­end bicycles to cars, companies have tried to monetise this by providing some customisation to generate a bigger margin,” Kenneth Lieu, a devices expert at market intelligence firm IDC Asia Pacific, told BBC News. “By customising an item, it allows the consumer to feel that their item is more unique and closer to their hearts.

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