Ffion Francis

Houzz unveils latest KBB market trends

Online interiors specialist Houzz has outlined the key current trends in the kitchen and bathroom market.

Houzz events manager, Ffion Francis (pictured), presented results from the website’s latest consumer survey of kitchen and bathroom design at the recent kbbreview Retail and Design Conference.

Francis told delegates that kitchens and bathrooms were the most searched-for project on the Houzz site, with 28% of visitors looking for inspiration for a kitchen project and 32% looking for bathroom ideas.

The findings are good news for KBB retailers wanting to turn leads into sales, as 77% of Houzz users said they planned to buy kitchen and bathroom products to use in their project within six months of doing their research.

The report also highlighted how strongly consumers valued professional help when it comes to this area of renovation. Sixty-eight per cent of site users said they would seek professional help to ensure a quality result when carrying out a bathroom project, and 67% said they would do the same for a kitchen project.

The survey revealed that more than 40% of Houzz visitors were updating their kitchens and bathrooms because they’d recently purchased a new home and wanted to “put their own stamp on it”, Francis explained. This new home trend is being driven by millennials, who are twice as likely as the over-55s to move into, and renovate, a new home.

In terms of kitchen design, the report revealed that size was the most important factor and heralded 2017 as the rise of the ‘super kitchen’.

“It’s definitely ‘the bigger the better’ in terms of kitchen renovations,” Francis said. “Large, open-plan kitchens are currently the most popular way to expand the home’s footprint.

“Seventy-three per cent of consumers are increasing the size of their kitchen when refurbishing, 59% are opening the kitchen up to include other rooms and 52% are specifying bifold or French doors in order to open the kitchen up to the outside, proving that the open-plan kitchen trend is showing no sign of slowing down.”

The survey showed 56% of users were looking for contemporary white kitchens by comparison with just 10% who searched the site for traditional inspiration. In terms of cabinet finishes, matt came top of the poll.

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Francis added that storage was a key factor in determining layout, with 79% of consumers wanting to make better use of space in their kitchens. Storage must-haves included cutlery organisers (77%), deep-drawer organisers (61%), pull-out waste or recycling cabinets (51%) and corner carousels (41%).

On the appliance side, apart from the essentials, dishwashers proved popular, with 82% of consumers saying that they would incorporate one into their new project, and 24% admitting they would install a boiling water tap.

Focusing on bathrooms, the report showed that while the size of bathrooms had shrunk, consumers were demanding a luxury experience and, as a result, were investing in larger shower areas.

Sixty-two per cent of consumers rated having a bathroom that’s “easy to clean and disinfect” as their top priority when redesigning their space. Good lighting (43%) and a relaxing space (47%) were also top considerations.

The survey found neutral bathrooms that “stand that test of time” remained the most popular style, with 36% of Houzz consumers opting for white walls, white worktops (31%), white cabinets (47%) and grey floors (35%).

Among the 90% of homeowners who said they updated flooring in their bathroom project, ceramic and porcelain finishes topped the poll with 49%, compared with vinyl at 16%, marble with 6%, slate at 6% and laminate at 5%.

Highlighting the growing trend for smart-home features, the survey also revealed how more and more consumers were using their mobile devices in the bathroom and were specifying products with hi-tech functions.

“Interestingly, our survey showed that 52% of consumers used a mobile device in their bathroom at least weekly,” said Francis. “Twenty-five per cent of site users said they checked their email while in the bathroom, 22% looked at social media and 21% texted.

“On top of that, we found that consumers were specifically looking for new technology in bathroom products. Sixteen per cent specified hi-tech showers, 11% opted for a hi-tech toilet and 6% went for a hi-tech bath.”

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