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Metallics, smart appliances on horizon for Electrolux

American consumers still prefer stainless steel finishes for their appliances, but the metallic look could be the next hot surface in home kitchens.

That’s what trend watchers at Electrolux Major Appliances North America told a group of media representatives recently at its global headquarters in Charlotte’s University Research Park.

The maker of Frigidaire and the higher-end Electrolux home appliance brands also expects to add “smart” appliances to its product lineup but probably won’t do so in the near future – not until technology can be tightly matched to meet consumer needs.

Electrolux CEO Jack Truong was for a while among the hosts who shared the company’s research data and other information with nearly a dozen visitors, most from some of the best-known lifestyle and food magazines and websites.

Editors, contributors and social media handlers were on hand from Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Good Housekeeping, This Old House online and Epicurious, the online food site. Consumer Product Newsgroup, which reaches television audiences with syndicated content, also had reps on hand.

The daylong event included product demonstrations, hands-on cooking sessions and a chance to wear 3-D glasses in the design center, to see how appliances are developed using computer modeling.

Mostly, it was a chance to learn how Electrolux collects and measures consumer data to keep up with the changing tastes and needs.

Based on its research, the company sees promise in the years ahead for manufacturers who understand and cater to the vastly different needs of renters, luxury-home buyers and seniors interested in remaining in their homes.

Multigenerational families living in a single home also are expected to be a strong market. All of those groups will want products that help make life more manageable.

“Time is the currency of our consumers,” Truong said.

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