Flexibility, well-being and sustainability identified as key 2022 appliance trends

Sirius Buying Group, major buying group in the electrical appliance and kitchen retail sectors, predicts a kitchen renaissance in 2022-3, as the kitchen market bounces back following record movement in the residential sector.

Managing director at Sirius, Steve Jones says: “We have been closely tracking the latest forecasts so we can best advise our retailers as they enter a business-critical time. UK consumers are naturally concerned following news of a 54% rise in the energy price cap from April and the Bank of England predicting that inflation will hit 7.25% this spring. With this in mind, we must anticipate that homeowners will want to spend their cash wisely at all price points and that they will be keen to safeguard their purchases with extended warranties. A key trend this year is the importance of technical innovation throughout the market with ever-greater functionality and ease of use highly desirable. As people have appreciated the importance of kitchen living solutions due to increased time at home and the desire for flexible working, the potential for product upgrades and replacements is set to accelerate, with the kitchen studio market well-placed to sell the benefits of creating bespoke spaces with all-singing, all-dancing integrated appliances. As a result, we can see consumers are set to invest more in their appliances in line with their desired lifestyle. This enables independents to position themselves as kitchen lifestyle consultants as discerning customers want inspiration and flexibility to enhance their wellbeing rather than prescriptive and overly technical recommendations. The bonus is that this approach provides an opportunity for sales in higher ticket items, resulting in greater cash margin for the independent retailer. The kitchen is now regarded as a gateway to wellbeing and connection so smart tech and wellness are key. As always, independents are perfectly poised to tailor their sales to the benefit of their customers to not only meet but surpass user requirements.”

Appliances which enhance the luxury experience at home will score highly with consumers keen to optimise efficiency and space in the high-spec 2022 kitchen. The focus on ease and effectiveness is now baked into consumer expectations, in tandem with greater awareness of environmentally friendly options such as microfibre filters and steam functions in washing machines. There is now focussed attention on separate utility rooms and integrated laundry appliances to keep wash day tasks and cleaning separate from the multi-functional kitchen living area. Statistics from Mintel show that only 22% of consumers have a laundry room, indicating the rich potential for kitchen studios to plan them into renovation or remodelling projects with clients.

General manager at Sirius, Mark Veysey, says “There are many strong potential growth areas for independent retailers as a massive 68% of consumers agree that their kitchen holds great significance in their personal wellbeing and this will hold true with a renewed focus on home cooking, following anticipated price rises in the food sector. This opens the door to a new generation of cooling appliances which keeps food fresher for longer as well as ovens which can promote healthy eating choices to those who are getting more confident in cooking from scratch instead of relying on convenience foods. Going forwards, steam ovens continue to be important to the ‘worried well’ and the active retired who are eager to look after themselves. Look out for increasing sophistication in the hot tap market and be prepared to guide your customers through the detailed features and benefits of the latest innovations which deliver filtered water to the home chef who is becoming increasingly creative and keen to enjoy new dishes with minimum effort.”

Steve Jones concludes: “We have always encouraged our Sirius independents and specialists to embrace the latest technology to build and maintain customer relations. As controlling appliances via apps is more generally available now, being fluent in digital processes and products is a vital part of your sales toolkit so that you can demonstrate them with confidence in the showroom.

Enhancing your digital footprint and using social media to connect with end-users is also a wise investment as consumers are increasingly keen to do their own research and discover the ‘sustainability story’ of big-ticket purchases. The British Retail Consortium has created a Climate Action Roadmap indicating how UK retailers can work towards net zero throughout their supply chain by 2040, following its acknowledgement that the sector’s annual carbon emissions are 80% higher than those of all road traffic in the country. Independent retailers really need to spell out their environmentally friendly policies such as recycling schemes so that consumers feel that they are making a difference with their purchases. If you can incentivise greener purchases with some element of ‘cash back’ or discounting, you can play your part in nudging consumers towards choices which are beneficial to us all. By aligning your business with suppliers which are on board with carbon reducing policies and protocols, you can show your integrity and commitment to the planet as well as the local businesses and communities you serve.”

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