KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
16th March 2018
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Soapbox: The demand is there but the will to invest is not
Steve Macdonald, marketing director of Hoover Candy, shares his views on the pent-up consumer. He argues that the will and need for consumers to invest in new kitchens is there but unless the industry can make it comfortable to pay for their investment, they will remain 'pent -up'.
"Mintel's recent report tells us that 15% of respondents advised that they would like to refurbish their kitchen but can't afford to. Equally there are more people wanting to upgrade, but they are being extremely cautious about the risk of overspending as they wait to see what happens with the economy.
But at the same time increasing numbers of consumers are feeling left behind as the poor relation as they look at their kitchen that hasn't been refreshed for five or more years. They are also seeing the new appliances and kitchens that are now available, which are increasingly attractive as they are loaded with innovation and energy saving attractions that could actually save them money in the long term.
So what can we, as an industry, do to help consumers invest now?
It's understandable also, in the light of the demise of Moben and Focus, for the retailer to be cautious, however more and more are once again offering interest free credit as a hook to draw customers in.
Interestingly it seems the independent kitchen specialists could succeed where the sheds can't compete, because they are offering customers much more in terms of innovative kitchens and appliances.
They are also able to offer expertise, which is something that can be sadly lacking in some of the larger sheds. Many customers recognise that kitchen refurbishment is a complex task and so they welcome the option to discuss the options and details with a knowledgeable member of staff - and as research shows that 23% will ask for a recommendation; helpful service is an investment in future sales.
"Consumers can also be forgiven for finding the tranche of new technology and options available, confusing. Someone who understands and is able to explain the different benefits and match the appliance to the consumer's individual needs is also going to be successful.
As we all start to look at what 2012 holds for us as manufacturers and retailers, our biggest challenge will be how we can release the consumer's pent-up demand and translate it into sales.
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16th December 2011