‘Those that don’t monitor the change in customer behaviour will fail’

Bernard Otulakowski, UK MD of Siematic, warns that the middle-market may suffer over the coming year and that only those that adapt to the ‘new normal’ will thrive 

Retailers must embrace change. There will be two markets that will prosper – the lower price point and the higher, brand-oriented products. The middle market (non-brands) tends to suffer the most in recessions, as those customer with lower budgets cannot afford to spend more, and those in the middle either purchase higher-value brands for the security they provide, or buy cheaper products. 

The industry has been forced into change and many companies have seen the benefits of new systems of working. Therefore, I believe the kitchen industry will become more professional and evaluate time management better and cost centres. However, those that don’t monitor the change in customer behaviour in their target group, without a clear strategy, perhaps feel they can revert back to the way things were, will likely fail.  

The kitchen industry will be faced with a new luxury clientele that is more demanding. Middle-market kitchens that only feature the same USPs as lower-end kitchens will decline 

Bernard Otulakowski, managing director, Siematic UK

In the luxury market, we are experiencing a social change, clients worldwide want emotional experiences throughout the entire customer journey – more of a lifestyle approach is needed, their values and lifestyle need to be aligned with brands they interact with and purchase from. 

As a retailer, you must also ask yourself if you are with the right supplier? Consider your suppliers’ performance throughout the past nine months and ask yourself, have they supported you, have they kept you informed, have they delivered marketing support and innovative ways to enthuse you and your customers? Then those are the partners you should work with in the coming years. It’s easy steering a ship in calm waters, but it’s when you hit stormy seas that you appreciate a good crew. 

Looking forward to the year ahead, our confidence is certainly helped as we are part of a company that was founded in 1929! However, we are not stuck in the past and the past couple of years have seen Siematic invest heavily and become more and more proactive in the area of digital marketing. Our Siematic partners will reap the benefits of the campaigns that are in place for the coming months, along with a five-year growth plan of investment. 

The kitchen industry will be faced with a new luxury clientele, one that is more demanding, informed and who will reserve the right to spoil themselves. So the contemporary style of kitchen will remain strong, but only for the studio’s that are more interior design-focused. The handmade kitchen market will also benefit from this new luxury market, as craftsmanship in manufacturing handmade products is always valued and appreciated. I believe the middle-market kitchens that only feature the same USPs as the lower-end kitchen market, which don’t have a recognised brand name as a benchmark, will decline. 

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