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24th March 2017
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The New Range Generation: GDHA releases report on Range sector
Glen Dimplex Home Appliances has conducted one of the largest surveys of range cookers users in recent times to discover more about them, their cooking habits and how they choose and buy their appliance. GDHA surveyed 2,000 consumers across the UK who had recently bought a Range cooker to help it identify changing customer demographics for the Range cooking sector.
And, in a challenge to the accepted norm that range cooker users are usually older, the survey has revealed that the under 35s now account for almost as many sales (37%) as the 35-54 age group (40%). The research also revealed that the use of range cookers has created some unexpected new demographics:
Multi-meal Jugglers: More than half of those surveyed - a massive 59% - said they had purchased a range cooker to alleviate the challenges of living in a 'multi-meal' household. These consumers said they were being forced to create multiple dishes to cater for the daily demands of their families and households. More than a quarter (27%) of Multi-meal Jugglers said they regularly had to cook separate meals for fussy family members, whilst 17% said they were challenged by living with a vegetarian or vegan. Some 9% described themselves as living with somebody with a serious food allergy, whilst a further 7% said their household contained at least one person following a specialist diet such as 5:2, Atkins or SIRT. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when asked what three functions or features of their range cooker they valued the most, Multi-meals jugglers voted overwhelmingly for the multiple oven cavities, separate grill and larger hob space.
Steve Dickson, head of category for Range at GDHA, says: "Family life is very different today from 20 years ago and that is reflected in how and what we eat. Juggling different diets, preferences and even mealtimes can mean cooker clashes in a busy household, so a range cooker can solve many of these problems by providing the extra capacity and opportunity to use separate cavities."
Bold Bakers: Inspired by TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off, 35% of range cooker owners described themselves as keen amateur bakers. Amongst this group, capacity was voted the most valued feature of a range cooker (26%), closely followed by the multi-function oven options. Steve Dickson says: "Capacity and range cooking are intrinsically linked and the research shows that 90cm range cookers are extremely popular, especially with Bold Bakers who love the tall oven which is so good for large batch bakes."
Homepreneurs: GDHA's research showed that Range cookers are growing in popularity with home-based business owners running kitchen table businesses. Some 15% of those who had purchased a range cooker described themselves as a professional chef or somebody running a home-based food business.
"Dual fuel ranges, which feature gas hobs with electric ovens, are certainly the more popular format for UK households, but professionals usually prefer gas because of its responsive temperature control and versatility," explains Steve. " Gas offers a heat source that can be seen in the form of a flame, so many chefs say it makes it easier for them to control - helping them to find that perfect simmer."
Show-off Chefs: Traditionally range cookers have been seen as a centrepiece of a kitchen and that continues to be reflected with the emergence of Show-off Chefs - accounting for 34% of respondents who claim they love to use their range cooker for regular entertaining and 12% describing their cooking style as experimental. The style and appearance of the Range cooker is crucial, with 40% saying it was the factor most likely to make them purchase, with almost 25% choosing a more striking colour - moving away from traditional black, stainless steel and cream options.
The Reluctant Cook: The Reluctant Cook uses their range cooker every day but 25% admitted this is out necessity, rather than enjoyment. A further 14% claim they are not confident cooks and always follow a recipe.
"This is one of the more surprising groups to appear out of the research," admits Steve. "I think there has always been an assumption that Range cookers are for foodies. However, there are clearly a growing number of people for whom range cookers are simply a tool to make family life and cooking for a family, easier and more convenient."
GDHA's research also explored the way people shop for range cookers and found that almost two thirds of all consumers (65%) researched Range Cookers online before purchase. Demonstrating the continued importance of showrooms and being able to touch and feel a product, 62% said they visited a physical retailer, with almost half (49.5%) going on to buy in-store. Some 17% admitted that they visited a number of stores - both high street and independents - before making their purchase.
The survey also revealed some interesting differences between the genders. Asked to name the three most important factors when purchasing a range cooker, men rated build quality most important, closely followed by price and capacity. In contrast, women put price first, followed by style and appearance and number of functions. Women also placed more importance on online reviews, with 15% of women saying they would influence their purchase, versus just 5% of men.
"We felt it was time to conduct some new research into who the range cooker customer is in 2016," says Steve. "We've just invested �1.5m into our Range Cooker production line because we recognise that it's an increasingly important part of the white goods market.
"Despite it being a growing sector, peoples' attitudes to, and understanding of range cooker consumers have remained unchanged for years. Just 12% of the range cooker owners we surveyed belonged to the affluent ABC1 demographic traditionally considered to be the target market for range cookers.
"The audience for this product has stretched considerably and we hope that this research will allow retailers to gain some insight into how the market has changed."
As an example of this changing demographic, Steve cites 'Homepreneur' Jemma Lloyd whose Belling range cooker is at the heart of her home-based business.
Jemma, 29, was working in a high-pressured sales role in London when she turned to baking as a form of relaxation. As an adventurous home baker, and finding herself producing ever increasing batch bakes, she outgrew her built-in oven and invested in her first range cooker aged 25.
As her in interest in baking grew, Jemma set up a basic recipe blog and began posting recipes and photos of her bakes. The blog quickly grew in popularity and she noticed people were always asking her where she got her equipment from.
Spotting an opportunity, Jemma set up an online shop linked to her blog, selling everything from baking moulds to sugar decorations. Fast forward six years and Jemma has grown her home empire - Iced Jems - into a strong Internet business and retail store in the West Midlands with its own school, teaching baking and sugar craft. She has over 280,000 followers on Facebook and an ever- growing blog following.
Jemma has recently invested in a second Belling range cooker for her baking school and says it's at the heart of the classes she offers:
"The classes I teach have become really popular, and whilst I keep the class sizes small, I still need to be able accommodate up to six people making things like macarons or fudge," she says. "The larger hob and the multiple cavities of a range cooker means I can have a group gathered around the range and can put four batches in at once knowing they'll all cook evenly.
"I opted for an electric model as the wipe clean hob really appealed to me. I often have short changeover periods between classes, so I need to be able to restore the kitchen - and the cooker - to its previous state before the next class starts."
Find out more about Jemma's business at: www.icedjemsshop.com
16th December 2016