Women in KBB industry

Women call the shots for kitchen and bathroom purchases

Women are the ones making the decision when buying a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, according to our kbbreview100 retailer think tank and a survey carried out for us by Trend Monitor.

The Trend Monitor survey of 2,761 UK homeowners, almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) indicated that it is the female homeowner that makes the buying decision in these situations.

That was largely backed up by our own survey of the kbbreview100 retailers who said that 0% of men took the decision to buy for kitchens and bathrooms and only 8% for appliances.

Claire Algar, one of our kbbreview100 and founder of Rouse Bathrooms in Kent, is in no doubt. She told kbbreview it is definitely the woman who makes the decision: “Without being stereotypical, the simple fact is that most of the time, the woman spends more time in there. She cleans it. She stores more of her lotions and potions in there. She spends more time reading the magazines, on Instagram searching for inspiration and creating Pinterest boards. Normally it’s the lady who is in the driving seat. The man (generally!) looks for quality, bottom line price, and happy wife, happy life.” 

Further confirming the female as the decision-maker is fellow kbbreview100 member and owner of Meliora Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms in Sheffield, Kelly Roden, who added: “I would say the female element of a client partnership will lead the decision-making process, they have generally spent time on the likes of Pinterest and Instagram sourcing their inspiration and know what is needed from a space.”

Roden adds that men often step up when it comes to payment or deciding on kitchen gadgets: “The male element is generally practical or financial or usually super keen on the gadgets available – usually time saving or something a little more unique to peak their interests. We also sometimes very much have the opposite of this too.”

Ros Wilson, a kbbreview Retail & Design Awards judge and founder of Roselind Wilson Design in London agrees with Roden that men often deal with the payment. She said: “Many men defer to their wives, hailing them as the design eye, but when it comes to payment, they are responsible for this.”

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This is backed up by Diane Berry, proprietor of Diane Berry Kitchens in Manchester, who said: “All too often the women choose what they want and the men like to actually buy it. So closing the deal feels like a masculine thing to do and often the ladies let their men do it.”

Two other kbbreview100 members also agree that mean take more interest in the appliances.

Rubina Hughes, owner of Zara Kitchens in Staines, said: “Women do tend to have a good idea of the look that they want to achieve and have researched kitchen styles and finishes. Men tend to look into technical details such as appliance features and the construction of the furniture.”

Confirming that men step in when technology is involved, Victoria Anderson, category manager at Elliotts Living Spaces on Lymington, added: “We see a slight shift in the technology and appliances choices, with the majority of males more interested in these.”

There were retailers though who suggested that the decision-making process could sometimes be a joint one.

Stephanie Kane, a kbbreview100 member and kitchen designer at Studio One Kitchens in East Kilbride, told kbbreview: “In my experience, I would say most of our decision makers are split down the middle between men and women. I think (for kitchens) the main cook makes the big decisions.”

She was not alone, with Helena Myers, a director at The Myers Touch in Winchester, confirming: “I honestly think it is pretty even split. It’s less of a male-female thing and more of a personality type – and always important for us to discern before we get too far into the design process.”

It is no surprise then that women play a prominent role as designers in retailers around the country, with a recent survey of our kbbreview100 showing that it is the most popular role for women in the retail sector. The survey also showed that 38% of those polled said half of their staff was female.

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