Home Appliance Makers Offer Upgrades for Existing Products

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Home Appliance Makers Offer Upgrades for Existing Products

This file photo taken on July 22, 2021, shows LG Electronics Inc.'s Objet Collection home appliances displayed at a shop in Seoul.  (Yonhap)

This file photo taken on July 22, 2021, shows LG Electronics Inc.’s Objet Collection home appliances displayed at a shop in Seoul. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Feb 22 (Korea Bizwire)South Korean home appliance makers are offering upgrade services for previously sold products as part of their customer lock-in strategy.

On Feb. 10, when Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled new Galaxy S22 smartphones, the company revealed a plan to extend its Android OS upgrade policy from three to four years.

The company made such a decision despite concern that it could possibly extend the smartphone’s replacement cycle, thereby having a negative impact on its sales.

LG Electronics Inc. also rolled out a new concept of ‘UP appliances’ that is designed to ensure continuous upgrades not only for software but also for the hardware of home electronics such as refrigerators and washing machines.

Under this concept, even the products sold in the year prior can be upgraded to use the latest functions adopted by new models released that year.

It looks like LG fired back after Samsung declared a permanent free repair service for digital inverter motors and compressors, the core components of a number of home appliances, last year.

The industry’s latest move is also affected by the almost ubiquitous inclusion of wireless connectivity for home electronics that enables easier updates.

In addition, despite the extension of the product replacement cycle, companies can sell hardware components to customers for upgrades.

In addition, considering the lock-in effect, such a move could be advantageous for home electronics makers from a long-term perspective.

JS Shin (js_shin@koreabizwire.com)