SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- Sales of premium home appliances showed strong growth in South Korea last year, although the overall market for white goods become saturated, according to company officials on Tuesday.
Smeg, a high-end Italian domestic appliance brand, saw its sales of refrigerators and microwave ovens jump 40 percent on-year in 2016.
Smeg's product lineup features trendy appliances, but their prices are relatively expensive. The prices of Smeg's 276-liter, one-door refrigerators range from 2.4 million won (US$2,183) to more than 4 million won.
Germany's Miele brand was believed to post double-digit growth in sales in South Korea last year.
Miele's sales growth in South Korea was driven by the popularity of its T1 tumble dryer.
Danish consumer electronics company Bang & Olufsen posted 8.5 percent growth in sales in South Korea last year, helped by strong sales of its high-end headphones and sound systems.
An official at Bang & Olufsen in South Korea said the company's BeoLab loudspeaker products helped increase sales last year.
With Chinese brands gaining market share in the field of low-end home appliances, Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. have also focused on upmarket white goods.
Samsung unveiled its "Chef Collection" premium kitchen appliance line in 2014.
One of Samsung's upmarket refrigerators, "T-type," accounted for about 60 percent of the company's total refrigerator sales in South Korea last year.
"At a time when the market for home appliances has become saturated, the market for premium products is growing," said a Samsung official.
LG introduced its premium "LG Signature" brand last March.
With the brand, LG is stepping up marketing efforts to boost sales in the United States and Europe.
An LG official said it posted double-digit growth in sales of premium home appliances last year.
Industry observers said Samsung and LG have no choice but to focus on selling premium products, as Chinese brands such as Haier and TCL gain market share in the overall market.
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