The UK domestic furniture market saw a 5% increase in both 2015 and 2016, new figures have revealed.
The ‘Domestic Kitchen Furniture Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’ by AMA Research reported that replacements now account for 80% of sales – a share that has increased steadily in the past but has remained stable in recent years.
The kitchen furniture market comprises furniture, worktops and sinks, with furniture estimated to account for almost 80% of the market in value terms.
Rigid (pre-assembled) kitchens are now the norm, according to AMA, and are increasing in market share.
The blurring distinction between kitchen and dining room is a major factor affecting the market, with the move away from a functional form meaning accessory suppliers have had to develop added value, innovative storage solutions.
Increasing in popularity are trends such as curved cabinetry, soft-closing drawers, handleless doors, open display shelving, sophisticated lighting and additional electrical appliances.
High-gloss finishes, stainless steel, frosted glass, wood and metallic finishes all remain popular, with combinations of materials frequently used to add interest. However, there are signs that softer finishes are growing in popularity.
An increasing number of manufacturers are also offering units, which suit the needs of elderly or infirm customers. This trend is likely to continue as the proportion of the UK population in older age groups increases.
Technological advancements in the tap sector, such as pull-out spray taps and water filtration systems, have also added value to the market, along with growth in the popularity of waste disposal units.
Forecasts for the next two-to-three years have been downgraded as a result of the Brexit vote, which is likely to lead to slower growth in the UK economy, price increases for imported raw materials and less confidence among consumers.
“The domestic kitchen furniture market is forecast to show more moderate annual growth in the next few years of around 3%, before returning to stronger growth in 2020 and 2021,” said Fiona Watts of AMA Research. “In the short-term margins are likely to be squeezed further, particularly by the increasing cost of imported raw materials, such as chipboard, as well as metal components, such as aluminium and steel, while energy costs have also started to rise again, although they have been subject to some volatility in recent years.”
Higher levels of new-build properties in both the private and public housing sectors are expected to support growth in the kitchen market. However, the high proportion of flats and smaller houses may impact the average value of kitchen furniture installed in this sector.
The sale of kitchens with installation included is likely to increase, with multiples such as Ikea, B&Q, and Wickes, promoting this service strongly.