The UK domestic kitchen furniture market began to show growth in real terms in 2013 and 2014, with growth of 4% estimated in 2014. The kitchen furniture market is at the mature stage of its product lifecycle, with replacement sales accounting for almost 80% of sales.
Key issues that have influenced the UK domestic kitchen furniture market in recent years include the blurring of distinction between the kitchen and dining room, with less formality in the home and a move towards open plan living, an emphasis on aesthetics and stylish designs, with a move towards curved lines, rather than the traditional straight line concept and a trend for sleek, minimalist contemporary designs. An increasing number of manufacturers are offering units to suit the needs of elderly or infirm customers and this trend is likely to continue as the proportion of the UK population in older age groups increases.
The kitchen furniture market according to our definition comprises furniture, worktops and sinks, with furniture accounting for almost 80% of the market in value terms. Worktops had gradually gained market share before the recession affected the market, driven by the trend towards higher value products in this sector, particularly granite, quartz and other composites. However, in the last few years market conditions have squeezed consumer spending power, and similarly the sinks sector has been slower to recover from the recent downturn in the market.
Demand for design features in the kitchen seems to be recovering and this should increase the importance of both worktops and sinks, which can create high visual impact. The popularity of dishwashers has contributed towards changing the use of a sink from an area simply for washing up, to a multi-functional work centre, which incorporates features for washing, food preparation and drainage. However, the penetration of dishwashers in UK households remains relatively low at around 40%, particularly when compared with penetration levels in mainland Europe.
Technological developments in the tap sector, such as pull-out spray taps and water filtration systems, have also added value to the market, along with the growth in popularity of waste disposal units in the sinks sector, as increasing emphasis is placed on waste separation and recycling.
The kitchen furniture market is currently dominated by a relatively small number of larger UK based suppliers. Imports of kitchen furniture declined significantly from 2008 to reach £99m in 2011 and have remained at around that level since then. Imports currently account for around 9-10% of the kitchen furniture market (excluding worktops and sinks), with Germany and Italy being the major sources. The distribution structure has now settled down somewhat after the sharp fall in the share held by the multiple furnishing groups, due to the closure of MFI.
The total market for kitchen furniture is forecast to show relatively strong growth of around 4-5% per annum in the short to medium term future and is estimated to reach a level of £1.83bn by 2019. However, in the short term margins could be squeezed further by the increasing cost of raw materials such as chipboard, as well as metal components such as aluminium, steel and so on. The sale of kitchens with installation included is likely to continue to increase.
“The worktop sector is expected to achieve good growth in the medium term, primarily due to a gradual shift to higher quality materials” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “However, prospects for the sinks market are only modestly positive, despite the development of higher value products in both the sink and tap sectors of the market.”
Higher levels of new build in both the private and public sectors are expected to support growth in the kitchen market in the future, however, the high proportion of flats and smaller houses may impact on the average value of kitchen furniture installed in this sector in the longer term. In the medium term, growth prospects will be largely influenced by the speed at which the housing market continues to recover.
The ‘Domestic Kitchen Furniture Market Report – UK 2015-2019 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242 235724.