Fitted kitchen market hits all-time high in value

Fitted kitchens and kitchen product sales hit an all-time high in 2022 both in terms of the number of installations and the total market value.

The latest JKMR 2023 Overview Report on the UK Fitted Kitchen Market shows that almost 1.3 million new kitchens were installed during 2022, while the market value of fitted residential kitchen products, which includes cabinetry, worktops, appliances and sinks and taps, rose by 9% over 2021 to hit all-time high of £5.28 billion.

JKMR puts the value of the total fitted kitchen market at almost £10bn, which includes installations, add-on and ‘facelift’ products sold separately from cabinetry products, such as new frontals and worktops, and kitchen sales to ‘non-family dwellings’ such as seconds homes, holiday lets, static caravans and multiple occupation homes such as bedsits.

The refurb market performed better than the new-build sector, with owner-occupier refurb sales of major fitted kitchen components accounting for around £4bn.

Installations accounted for £2.9bn in sales, add-on projects accounted for £1.35bn in value and sales by mainstream kitchen retailers to ‘non-family’ dwellings added £450m to the pot.

The report highlights that 2022 new-build activity saw a small increase and that following house price increases housing market activity was down against a strong 2021, while household disposable incomes saw only modest growth.

In terms of sales, the report notes that total kitchen and total white goods sales were stronger than the overall DIY market where an increasing proportion is going through general high-street discounters.

The report shows that wider economic factors kick-started a new period of growth in the fitted kitchens market in 2013. T hen came Covid, which saw a decline in market value during 2020, but despite the Q1 2021 lockdown, consumers keen on home improvements drove new activity and spared significant growth in 2021.

It says that the year ended 2023 is currently projected to see installations fall although value will rise further.

JKMR also notes an increase in families owning more than one property and so customer loyalty to ensure repeat buying will become increasingly important to business success.

Looking at the sales channels for kitchens, JKMR says that while trade-supplied kitchens have grown hugely in volume terms over the past decade, in value terms the market is still far more dominated by the consumer-facing retail channel.

Trade-supplied refurbs accounted for 34% of market value, while consumer-facing retail supply to private dwelling accounted for 55% in 2022.

The report highlights that going forward Generation Z buyers may well be at variance with the ‘norm’, looking for a more eclectic mixing of freestanding and fitted elements and with a different expectation of the kitchen buying journey.

The report also says that the need for designs that recognise the different requirements of multiple generations in a household will become more important. It says that for independent retailers, whose client base is biased towards older households, this is likely to become more important.

“It would be likely,” adds JKMR, “to see independents move to a wider ‘property renovation specialist’ model, utilising their bespoke/responsive design skills and their access to a wider range of niche and specialised products than the multiples.”

In terms of the multiples’ position, the report says that their kitchen strategy will fall into four distinct categories – short lead-time preassembled kitchens, take-away one-box products, ‘reasonable quality’ rigid products for consumers and trade and high-quality rigid products sold in a KBB setting with design and fit.

Trade retail supply accounted for one-in-three of all projects, but JKMR adds: “The multiples face increased competition from Wren, with the latter now the UK’s number-one kitchen retailer by a considerable margin if one does not define Howdens as a ‘retailer’; and they also face a potential challenge from pure online kitchen retailers. Thus, kitchens will surely continue to be rigorously scrutinised as to their profitability and viability by B&Q and Homebase and, most probably, by the multiple merchants who have seen their kitchen activity eroded away by Howdens to a possible point of no return.”

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