Commenting on prospects for the KBB industry in 2021 and beyond, Owain Harrison, country manager for Belgian hoods and hobs specialist Novy, advises retailers to invest in digital marketing
There is a lot of conflicting opinion about how the coming year might pan out. Regardless of Brexit dynamics, we see a vulnerability in the UK economy and we are clearly far more dependent on macro-economic output than we would like.
In Q3 of FY2020, the UK was down by nearly 10%, and while the future looks uncertain for the country, our industry has reported an upturn, and at Novy, we are busy.
Looking ahead the main challenges will be consumer confidence, currency deflation, the UK being less attractive as a global player and unemployment in low-skilled areas of our economy
The KBB independent sector needs to continue to demonstrate solidarity in order to compete with the larger independent and multiple chains.
Many retailers have had to time to reassess their marketing during both lockdowns. In order to get more than their fair share, and to market their differences, they need to continually invest in their digital showrooms in order to attract people to their actual showrooms.
The general freestanding white-goods business is very replacement-oriented and this is a deeply mature market, so ±5% amortised is normally way more dependent on inflation and the weather. Meanwhile, the fitted kitchens segment should see growth, effectively because people have been working from home and having spent so much time there, they want better and more flexible kitchens and living spaces to live and work in. Plus not going out, or abroad, has already resulted in the ability to spend saved income on major home improvements.
Rising unemployment risks more wholesale issues, but if inflation can be managed and unemployment slowed, then we still need to build more houses, resulting in further investment in kitchens, bathrooms and gardens.
And when it comes to products, Aldo Gucci once said ‘clients are realising that quality is remembered long after price is forgotten’. Products that are well-made, with low failure rates that deliver a genuine points of difference will always sell.
- For more comment and anlysis on what’s in store for the KBB market in 2021, see our Focus feature in the January issue