SharkNinja moves: EMEA president Tom Brown on the company's regional growth strategy
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SharkNinja moves: EMEA president Tom Brown on the company’s regional growth strategy

SharkNinja moves: EMEA president Tom Brown on the company’s regional growth strategy

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business, SharkNinja’s Tom Brown shares the strategy driving the global product design and technology company’s expansion in the UAE and Middle East

Neesha Salian
Tom Brown, President EMEA, SharkNinja, addresses media at the official SharkNinja UAE launch

What are the key factors that influenced SharkNinja’s decision to focus on the UAE and Middle East?

Geo expansion is a key pillar of our global growth strategy, and we see the UAE, and wider Middle East as a region that is in a high growth phase, with increasing consumer demand for premium quality home, kitchen, and beauty products that fuse cutting-edge innovation with affordability.

We’ve deep-dived into the retail landscape in the UAE, and we see a wonderful opportunity for consumers to benefit from our innovation. Our motivation is driven by the desire to delight customers with products that they love. In the UAE, and Middle East, our ambitions are not only to increase our market share but to grow the market across different categories.

The key to this is establishing a regional hub to scale our capabilities and efficiencies. We’ve formed centres of excellence in everything from commercial operations to marketing, with core groups supporting our teams across the region.

Massive advances in technology mean speed to market is critical, and we have a global in-house team of more than 800 engineers and designers across the US, UK, and China, allowing for round-the-clock product development cycles, and enabling ideas to go from sketch to production very quickly.

How has SharkNinja’s success in the US and European markets influenced your regional strategy?

Our expansion journey began in 2014, when we launched into the UK, soon followed by France, Germany Italy, and Spain.

In 2022 we decided to accelerate, and we went from being in a handful of countries to focusing on the Nordics, Benelux, and Poland.

The international market was a strong growth driver in 2023, driven by success in the UK, Europe and Latin America. What’s exciting is that this outstanding growth is just the beginning.

In the Middle East, we wanted to start with UAE and learn, and then of course we aspire to take our expansion further across the region. We’ll continue to launch new products every year, and depending on consumer insights, products tailored to the Middle East.

SharkNinja delivers affordable, accessible innovation to the consumer, and the combination of performance, quality and extraordinary value is something that has propelled our growth over the past 15 years and will continue to fuel our growth in the years ahead, including here in the UAE.

Give us an overview of SharkNinja’s product range in the consumer appliances sector. Which products are you introducing first in the UAE?

We’re introducing to the region more than a dozen products across Shark and Ninja.

Globally, we’re market leaders in multiple categories; our Ninja air fryers, multicookers, and blenders are number one across several countries, while Shark is the UK’s number one vacuum cleaner brand.

Meanwhile, Shark Beauty is the fastest growing hairstyler brand in the US, with our Shark FlexStyle hairstyler launching to a phenomenal response, backed by celebrity hair stylists and influencers alike.

Then there’s the Ninja Woodfire BBQ and Grill, and the Woodfire Outdoor Oven as well as the Ninja CREAMi ice cream maker, which took TikTok by storm with more than one billion views.

We have recently announced our new global Ninja Ambassador, David Beckham, who has a passion for cooking and commitment to exceptional performance. Both David Beckham and the Ninja team will be working together to demonstrate the benefits of our current products whilst also supporting product expansion.

We are driven by creating products that address problems and pain points that people thought they just had to live with or meet needs they didn’t know they had.

Give us an overview of the primary target demographic for SharkNinja’s products in the region.

We want to sell to everyone in the market, and our consumers have always been very educated and discerning; they prioritise accessible innovation that is affordable and practical, and our strategy has always been to focus on delivering products that offer great performance, high quality and at an affordable value.

We are committed to investing wherever the consumer is, whether that is TV and film sponsorship, social media, advertising, digital, in-store and experiential.

I have mentioned our new global ambassador for Ninja, David Beckham but we have already built incredible buzz through our relationship with Chris Appleton, hairdresser to the stars with our Shark FlexStyle, and we would love to utilise our global ambassadors alongside local ambassadors in the UAE to drive a positive impact on consumers’ lives.

How is SharkNinja adapting to the needs and preferences of Middle Eastern consumers?

We would never bring something to market that isn’t fit for purpose for that market, and we’re enhancing our Middle East insights and social listening teams to ensure we understand the consumers in this market.

We’re also expanding our agency network to increase our exposure, capabilities, speed, and visibility, in doing so, staying a step ahead of the trends on social media, ready to activate the right product feature to grab the imagination of consumers, and drive demand.

In terms of products, we know that consumers really love our air fryers, which are more energy efficient than conventional ovens, but we also know that, within EMEA, we have limited space on our worktops and countertops. This is why, we have engineered a new form factor that is only 29 cm wide – small enough to fit into a standard kitchen cabinet. This is all without any sacrifice to the capacity. It’s a great example of SharkNinja’s approach to localising product design.

How is the company incorporating the latest tech trends into its products?

SharkNinja is a scaled engineering powerhouse where product design and technology diffusion – or tech that is useful – is a fundamental part of our culture. Everything we do starts with the consumer. We launch on average 25 new products every year, and all SharkNinja products go through rigorous testing in consumer homes before they launch.

Our commitment to innovation is evident with our ongoing efforts to stay ahead of changing consumer needs.

We identify both known and unknown consumer problems throughout our product innovation process. As consumer needs change, our innovation cycle changes with them.

All the Shark and Ninja products go through rigorous testing in consumer homes before they launch and we are dedicated to incorporating consumer feedback to help ensure we deliver a five-star experience.

What kind of after-sales service and support can customers in the Middle East and UAE expect?

We’ve appointed Al Khayyat Investments (AKI) as our exclusive distribution partner in the UAE, and customers can benefit from AKI Consumer Goods’ specialised industry expertise, cutting-edge infrastructure, and best-in-class service teams. This means more localised teams, with a deep understanding of their consumers, all with regional support.

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