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‘The strongest will survive’

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Royal Philips sees potential in the Egyptian market. In an exclusive interview with Phillips Consumer Lifestyle Commercial and Organizational Leader, Olaf Koning, DNE explores what makes the market so attractive for the company and also finds out about Phillips’ consumer lifestyle products in Egypt.

Olaf Koning

Olaf Koning

By Lamia Nabil 

Please tell us a little about Phillips’ consumer lifestyle products?

Consumer lifestyle has different kinds of sub-categories; we have domestic appliances which contain irons and kitchen appliances. We also have personal care products including grooming and beauty for men and women, baby care (AVENT) products, and lifestyle entertainment products.

Which market segments do you target?

We have different types of segmentation; we have different price levels including entry level, mid and high, but we also have competitive products that are more interesting for A and B classes, with Iron prices starting from EGP 199 to ten times more.

From your perspective, evaluate the Egyptian market?

I came to Cairo in April 2012 just after the revolution and it is exciting times for sure. When we started to work in Egypt, it was because we saw a big opportunity here regardless of the situation. Philips has a very strong legacy, with more than 120 years of innovation. I think by today you can see we are still growing in this market and there is a strong demand even in the last couple of months. Despite the challenges that we face, we still can see strong demand.

We as a manufacturer and as a brand really want to build across the different sectors, and with consumer lifestyle, we are building a local team, distribution channels, marketing and sales campaigns.We are focusing on innovation. We believe that you can choose to think about challenges but, we choose to think about opportunities.

I grew up in Holland with Philips dominating the market, and then I moved to Singapore, and throughout the region, Asia Philips is the leading brand. We are aiming to be the leading brand in the market, there is only opportunity for us.We have been one of the strongest in the past and we also will be one of the strongest in the future.

We have seen a lot of economic and political issues recently. Every country has its own challenges; you just have to deal with it. I truly believe if you have the objective to be successful in the market you can overcome these challenges. The whole industry has to deal with it and I think the strongest will survive. The good thing is that the government is really dedicated to making it happen.

The Egyptian market is still very attractive because the country has a large and rapidly-growing population. Although Egypt has challenges, the economic situation is going to be better, and based on the consumer studies we have conducted; we see there is still a demand for products which we can supply.

What do you think are your most successful products?

I would have to say that the Phillips Airfryer is one of our most successful products. It is a healthier alternative for using a regular fryer because it doesn’t need to use any fat, so the consumer can eat healthy food without any oil. Our consumer studies confirmed that Egyptians like fried food. Although it’s a mid or high level product it has been our best selling product over the last two years.We try to understand the consumer’s needs and how to improve our distribution.

Are there any upcoming plans or products?

We have started a cooperation partnership with Chef Sherbiny to introduce healthy fast food recipes using Phillips products. You can currently watch him cook live with Philips products on one of Egypt’s top TV channel.

Tell us more about the Al-Araby agreement?

We want to have sufficient distribution coverage, so it’s critical. We think that we are professionals so we have to deal with professionals. Al-Araby is one of most respectful and largest distributors in Egypt. I think the most important thing is that the consumer buys premium products because of the brand. Al-Araby also has one of the best after sales services.


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