Big news this week in kitchen appliances: Samsung announced they would buy Dacor, the family owned, US-based maker of premium kitchen appliances.
The move gives Samsung a place at the table in the premium segment, which has been experiencing strong overall growth relative to the industry average of around 5%.
A few thoughts on the deal:
The brand stays intact: Samsung announced Dacor would keep its corporate identity and brand, as well as its US based manufacturing operation. In recent years Samsung has shown a willingness to let brands live on post-acquisition, as shown by SmartThings, but leaving a brand intact is even more important in the premium market where it takes years for a company to establish trust. Dacor has been a mainstay in the ultra-premium market for half a century. This makes total sense.
Sorting out the smarts: The move brings together two companies that have been working on smart appliances, albeit in two completely different ways. Dacor launched Discovery iQ a couple years ago, a connected appliance line which utilizes an embedded Android touch screen as a central connectivity and app platform. It appears that the company hasn't updated the effort much in the past year.
For its part, Samsung doesn't seem to have a clearly articulated connected kitchen vision at this point, but my guess is that they will make things much clearer in this space over the coming year. They have begun the process with some high profiles launches, such as the Family Hub refrigerator (which I think is a good start), and I expect a much broader lineup at this year's CES.
Much of the innovation in the oven space will take place beyond just simple connectivity platforms, as kitchen appliances begin to incorporate AI and analytics platforms such as those provided by Innit. Of the two companies, Samsung will likely lead this effort, with Dacor incorporating any of these efforts in subsequent product refreshes down the line.
Family owned no more: Lastly, it's worth noting that Dacor has had a somewhat unique place as a standalone, family owned business in the US large appliance industry. The company has remained in the hands of the Joseph family since its founding by Stanley Joseph in 1951; Michael Joseph, Stanley's son, is the company's Chairman and, up until last year, the company's President was Stanley's grandson, Steve Joseph (Steve Joseph has since left the company). With the acquisition, one of the last remaining family-owned brands in home appliance space is now a division of an international conglomerate.