By David Gill
Innovation, design and strong brands—plus the willingness to put some marketing muscle behind those brands—will keep the kitchen electrics market at high heat in 2008, according to executives in the industry.
The combination of these three factors has maintained the sales growth this market has experienced over the past few years, and will continue to keep things interesting in the category. In addition, individual product categories that surged in popularity in 2007 have plenty of opportunities for more growth in 2008.
“We expect the key drivers [in small electrics] will include innovation, well-known brands and exceptional consumer value propositions,” said Andrew Hill, president of Jarden Consumer Solutions. “The winners in the marketplace will be those brands that can bring to market the highest-quality products that meet and address consumers’ wants at a great value.”
“The kitchen electrics industry will continue to grow in 2008, fueled by products that offer convenience, versatility, reliability and design features,” said Mary Rodgers, director of marketing communications for the Cuisinart and Waring brands.
“Another key element in driving growth in the kitchen electrics industry is having a strong marketing campaign to support new product innovations,” Rodgers added, citing Cuisinart’s efforts “that are designed to engage consumers in various culinary activities while educating them about product benefits, cooking tips and other information.”
Both Jarden and Waring have made serious statements in one of the industry’s hot product categories, alcoholic beverage makers. Jarden’s Hill mentioned the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker as an example of the company’s innovative spirit, and vowed that Jarden—through its sources-of-growth team, which developed the Margaritaville—“will be focusing on driving innovation” through such products.
The Waring entry into this category is the Professional Martini Maker, which was introduced in the latter half of 2007. Rodgers identified the martini maker, which shakes or stirs and chills martinis at the push of a button, as a “growth area” for the brand in 2008. Nostalgia Electrics has made its entry into this segment as well, with its retro-designed Martini Shaker.
Consumers’ rising interest in healthier lifestyles will play a role in determining other hot electrics this year. “Trends toward healthy living have helped drive unit sales of rice cookers, juicers and food processors in 2007,” said Peter Goldman, president of the home sector for The NPD Group. “We anticipate that this trend will continue in 2008.”
One surprising area of interest in this market will be stand mixers—surprising because KitchenAid has been the dominant player in this category for decades, and still accounts for more than half the category’s total annual sales. Yet last year, Cuisinart made a bold entry into the market with its own Stand Mixer, and Bosch is also a player with the Universal Plus Kitchen Machine.
“Stand mixers are on the verge of breaking into the mainstream,” said Gary Leavitt, president of Kitchen Resource, which distributes the Bosch product. “It’s a niche item now for Bosch, and probably always will be because of KitchenAid. But we think we can get some market share with this product by targeting serious home bakers.”
Of course, America’s coffee craze is far from over as well. Rodgers cited coffeemakers as “an especially strong category” for Cuisinart, and the key for products in this segment will be suiting consumers’ individual coffee foibles. “New products like the Cup-O-Matic Single Serve and our latest grind-and-brew models with burr grinders focus on creating coffee that provides optimum flavor and suits the consumer’s individual preference,” Rodgers said.