While purchasing a new fitted kitchen can entail significant costs, the benefits of revamping the kitchen make it an attractive option for many homeowners. Fitted kitchens showcase professional design, installation and finishing, and can dramatically increase the value of the house or give the family home a new lease of life. But given the recent collapse in the housing market and pressure of the global recession, just how often do people choose to change their kitchens in these straitened economic times?
While the exact number of new installations every year is not readily available, activity within the UK kitchen furniture market give a good indication of the relative popularity of new kitchen designs with homeowners. According to AMA Research, the British kitchen furniture market went from strength to strength in the period 2002-2007, with the total market reaching a value of £1.4 billion. This suggests that there was a growing trend of fitting new kitchen furniture, with homeowners Fitted kitchens looking to update their designs, take advantage of new features and increase the value of their homes. However, with the financial crisis in 2008 and the collapse of the housing market, there was a significant decline in the kitchen furniture market that continued into 2009 and only stabilised in 2010. This suggests a consequent drop in the number of people opting for new fitted kitchens.
What does this suggest about the change in homeowners attitudes in this period? Clearly, the onset of financial crisis put an immense amount of pressure on household budgets, impacting on the demand for ‘non-essential’ products. More important, perhaps, is the impact of the collapse in the housing market. Many people choose to install a new kitchen in order to increase value in their home, so with the slowdown in the housing market comes a decreased interest in value-boosting fitting new kitchen furniture.
What does this suggest about future trends and the frequency of homeowners buying new kitchen furniture in the future? For one, it suggests that the market for fitted and semi-fitted kitchens is largely dictated by fluctuations in the housing market, meaning manufacturers and retailers should seek to adapt accordingly to trends in this area. It’s important to note, though, that the last decade saw a persistent and growing interest in home improvement that should help to drive this market as household incomes begin to grow again. Homeowners are now more aware of the psychological role their kitchen plays at the heart of their home, meaning they’re more attentive to changing preferences towards colours, materials and layouts. The homeowner’s enduring search for the ‘perfect’ kitchen should help to drive renewed interest in professionally built kitchens, especially as new styles, appliances and trends enter the consumer consciousness.
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