General Electric Company (GE) was founded in 1892 and is based in Fairfield, Connecticut. It operates as a technology, media, and financial services company worldwide. Its Consumer & Industrial segment sells and services major home appliances including refrigerators, freezers, electric and gas ranges, cook-tops, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, microwave ovens, room air conditioners, and residential water systems for filtration, softening and heating.
The aggregate level of economic activity in markets for such products and services generally lags overall economic slowdowns as well as subsequent recoveries. In the U.S., industrial markets are undergoing significant structural changes reflecting, among other factors, increased international competition and continued commodity cost pressures(2). Consumer & Industrial segment is particularly sensitive to changes in economic conditions. Reflective of the downturn in the U.S. housing market, Consumer & Industrial revenues have declined over the three-year period. In response to these tough economic conditions, in 2007, Consumer & Industrial began a restructuring plan focused on reducing manufacturing capacity and transferring work to lower-cost countries. Despite these cost reduction efforts, segment profit declined on higher material and other costs(3).
In order to profitably satisfy customer needs, GE must understand its external and internal situation, comprising of the company, collaborators, customer, context and competitors.
The customers of Home Appliances products are earning adults who own a house, restaurants or small businesses. Children or non-working adults are not the customers of home appliances market. The following demographic factors can have an effect on the buying behavior of consumers: 1. Age of the consumer: Typical home appliances buyer is earning member of a family. According to Consumer Expenditure Survey in 2007, the average income after taxes of people under 25 years is $30,802. High income people are between ages 35 and 65 (Ref: http://www.bls.gov/cex/#data). 25-34 years35-44 years45-54 years55-64 years
2. Gender: General customers of home appliance market are Females. From the Consumer Expenditure survey in 2007, it appears that higher percentage of people in the categories shown below own houses and pay mortgages. These segments would be the target customer for the home appliances market. Factors25-34 years35-44 years45-54 years55-64 years
3. Education and race: As majority of consumers is becoming educated more and more social aware, they look into the details on the impact of the usage of appliance to its environment. For example a common customer nowadays looks at energy savings, noise level reduction etc. The potential customer segment to tap into clearly is “White, Asian and other races”. Factors25-34 years35-44 years45-54 years55-64 years
High school (9-12)30333333
Black or African-American15141211
White, Asian, and all other races85868889
4. Interests: Customers are segmented by interests that appeal to their senses. Urban customer needs should be catered by introducing modern appliances. Customer’s income plays a role in that too. A chef would prefer the counter-top of higher end whereas a house wife would prefer smaller and lower end appliances. High end home appliances are purchased by families of higher end incomes. GE has managed to introduce different brands to capitalize on this...