Chris Braam, CEO Europe, Electrolux Group, has just returned from global tech event IFA where he presented EcoLine, a dedicated selection of the company’s most energy-efficient appliances covering all major product categories. In this interview, he tells us about the highlights from IFA and what consumers are prioritizing when choosing home appliances.
Hi Chris. You’ve just returned from IFA. Can you tell us what was “hot” at the Electrolux Group booth?
The spotlight was on our AEG EcoLine and Electrolux EcoLine — a selection of our most energy-efficient appliances covering all major product categories that we believe will empower consumers to make more sustainable choices for the planet, and their wallets. Through EcoLine we are making it easier to identify the most efficient products when they are looking for appliances in-store and online. For example, within laundry, AEG EcoLine offers washing machines with an energy rating better than the best A rating on the market.
The second highlight was the world premier of our new AEG SaphirMatt induction hob with scratch-resistant glass. The elegant black matt finish is resistant to fingerprints and stains and provides superior protection against scratching. In fact, it’s up to four times more scratch-resistant than our standard ceramic hob surfaces, keeping your hob looking newer for longer.
What do consumers prioritize today when choosing new home appliances?
With rising energy costs, reducing their energy bill is a top priority. At the same time, they don’t want to compromise on performance and efficiency.
Consumers are now putting even more emphasis on high quality and convenience that enhances their user experience. This creates exciting opportunities for us and our retail partners. It opens a door to engage with consumers and guide them on how technology can meet their needs when used with less energy and resources.
Sustainability is high on the corporate agenda right now. How can we drive our sustainability agenda without being accused of “greenwashing” consumers?
For us, sustainability is not just about following a trend or talking about all the great things we are doing. At Electrolux Group, we walk the talk — we have a sustainable business strategy which means sustainability is engrained in all our business decisions and innovations. We take a holistic, science-based approach to sustainability using our Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to determine where we can have the biggest, most positive impact.
As up to 85% of global CO2 emissions of an appliance occur when the product is used in the home — that’s where we can have the biggest influence. Our LCA analyses show that small changes in consumer behavior can have a very positive impact on the planet. We are driving this impact — together with our partners — to make it easy and effortless for consumers to choose the most energy-efficient appliances. And of course, that’s where our new EcoLine selection comes in.
Where do you see opportunities for Electrolux Group to grow in the current environment, and what is your approach?
We are living in volatile times so having a clear focus and roadmap is more essential than ever. In Europe, our focus is on building and investing in our strong premium brands — Electrolux and AEG. It’s all about putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do to get closer to them, offering a best-in-class experience and building lifelong relationships with them via all relevant channels. And, of course, we are on a journey to be a truly sustainable company, driven by our purpose Shape Living for the Better. Our new AEG/Electrolux EcoLine is a really good example of how we’re empowering consumers to live more sustainably.
You have over 20 years’ experience in sales. What is your recipe for sales success given the current economic challenges in Europe?
Times are changing. It’s important for companies to accept that and adapt to the realities to stay relevant in order to deliver. Personally, I always prefer to embrace change, because it brings opportunities — to learn, to grow, to do things differently or to try new things. So, a lot comes down to mindset and therefore the most important point is to be open to it and look at the glass half full.
Having just returned from IFA, what were your takeaways? Did anything surprise you?
Let’s start with what didn’t surprise me! Sustainability is everywhere and is here to stay. So, I am very happy that we have already been pushing our sustainability agenda and making it come alive now through AEG/Electrolux EcoLine. We are at the forefront of offering sustainable solutions for consumers and making it easy for them to select the right offer. Sustainability — combined with convenience, efficiency, and product design — are the key factors for companies who want to lead in our industry.
More about Chris:
Chris joined Electrolux Group in 2011 as SVP Sales & Service from Nokia where he was Vice President Sales for the mobile phones division heading the Middle East & Africa region.
Married with four children – of which three have left the house already for their studies – he is a passionate skier, can be found in the gym every now and then and likes to spend his time with his family and friends. Chris was appointed CEO Europe, Electrolux Group in July 2022.