Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

UK kitchen market set for £50million boost this year

Published: 15 March 2019 - Fiona Garcia
 

A new report suggests kitchen sales will rise by £50million in 2019, despite ongoing challenges for the £3billion kitchen products industry.

Based on kitchen suppliers’ data, the research by MTW Research found that higher-value rigid kitchen cabinets, cooking appliances, premium taps, and dishwashers are outperforming the kitchen market. However, the mid-market continues to experience a squeeze on both prices and profits, with online retailers continuing to gain share through aggressive pricing strategies. 

Looking at the top 10 kitchen design trends in 2019, the report noted that designs are “more complex and nuanced than ever, as consumers seek enhanced personalisation of their kitchens rather than traditional ‘off the shelf’ solutions”.  The wide-ranging innovation in kitchen design continues to support the higher-value kitchen market in 2019, whilst at the same time the ‘unobtrusive kitchen’ continues to gain share due to more smaller, urban ‘open plan living’ homes. 

Commenting on the findings, MTW director Mark Waddy said: “Sophisticated consumers know that the old binary choice of ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’ kitchen design is defunct. The kitchen market is more complex than ever in terms of design, specification and purchasing criteria and several kitchen suppliers have fallen foul of rapid trend changes recently”. 

MTW point to ‘urban’, ‘industrial’, ‘chic rustic’, ‘vintage’ and other kitchen designs driving the market in 2019.  Knowledgeable consumers are seeking retailers and manufacturers who can help to create a distinctly personalised kitchen.  The report identifies a number of growth opportunities in 2019, though warns that “suppliers slow to identify the new trends continue to languish in a fiercely competitive kitchen market with static volumes and a growing threat of price deflation”. 

Based on data from companies reporting over £180million profit, the report finds that the ‘connected kitchen’ is driving value growth in the luxury kitchen market, with this impetus steadily filtering into the high-mid market.  Smart extractors, voice-activated hobs and built-in cabinet smart speakers are just a few examples given that illustrate how kitchen retailers are integrating technology with kitchen cabinets, worktops, taps and appliances to differentiate kitchen designs. 

On distribution trends, Waddy identifies, “a discernible shift in kitchen distribution for 2019,” adding: “Kitchen retailers have mostly won the battle against the sheds, who are repositioning to more traditional DIY market positions.  Growth in the lower-value sector is likely to be elusive in 2019, forcing online and DIY channels to engage in a ‘battle royale’ on pricing, with profound implications for kitchen suppliers with poorly-defined market positions.”

Lower growth in the mass market is likely to be compounded by the ‘kitchen refresh’ trend in 2019, with cost-conscious consumers opting to switch-out doors, handles and taps, rather than undertake larger scale full kitchen refits.  However, real-term growth is forecast to return to the market in H2 2020 according to MTW.  Overall, the report depicts a cautiously positive kitchen market in 2019, though suppliers and retailers clearly need to identify the increasing number of pitfalls evident.” 

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