A kitchen product on TV?

Malcolm Scott of distributor Swift Electrical explores how sales of instant hot water taps are soaring, helped by a TV ad campaign by Quooker

The national TV advertising campaign by the Dutch company Quooker is the latest evidence of a new trend that has swept through the kitchen studio sector, adding innovation and value.

More than 100,000 hot taps were sold in the UK in the past 12 months. At this early stage of development of demand, Zip is the market leader with just over 30% of all sales, with Quooker and InSinkErator both taking about 25%. Franke has a little over 10%.

This is the fastest-growing sector of the kitchen accessories market. With retail prices ranging from £750 to £3,000, the instant hot water tap is making a significant contribution to the sales of many kitchen studios. From the simple standalone, small hot taps pioneered by InSinkErator and designed to run alongside an existing kitchen sink mixer, to the new full 4-in-1 Franke Omni hot tap – where a single sink mixer delivers filtered water, ambient temperature mains water, normal hot water and boiling hot water – sales are growing.

It is not a simple product by any means. The choice of what to buy can be baffling. Temperature variations from the point that the water leaves the tank can be anything between 1.2°C and 5°C, and tank reheat times varying from four minutes to nine minutes. It is also hard to establish if high-temperature pressure systems actually perform better than lower-temperature, low-pressure systems. Although most UK homes have 1.5 bar water pressure, some of the systems on the market only really work well with two bar pressure.

Then there is the issue of WRAS approval. Many systems on the market would not be acceptable in new-build applications, as they do not meet current building regulations.

Several manufacturers make a considerable effort to sell the ‘energy saving’ message compared with a traditional kettle, but I believe that the biggest benefit is in time saving – instant drinks for the whole family must save the average user at least 20 minutes every day.

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