No matter their location, or the fads and design trends that have come and gone, kitchens have always served as a place of community and gathering. Entire days spent in the kitchen preparing food for a holiday can be as bonding as they are stressful. And even when food preparation is not involved, kitchens are often the choice location for important talks, late-night study sessions, and reprieves before and after the workday. Kitchens change as much as we do – does it not follow that consumer appliances should be reflective of what they want out of their kitchen experience?
Staying up-to-date on trends and market insights of what consumers are looking for is beneficial for appliance retailers as that knowledge can make a difference when helping a consumer achieve their ideal kitchen experience.
From multifunctional kitchens to outdoor cooking spaces, here are a few key trends to focus on when developing a strategy oriented towards selling products designed for the kitchen.
The Rise of the Multifunctional Kitchen
Multitasking has become a common aspect of everyone’s daily routines. It is a skill that has become essential to success in our personal and work lives. So, it should come as no surprise that consumers expect their homes and technology to become multifunctional as well.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), a world leader in kitchen and bath proprietary research and a renowned provider of expert resources and exclusive events, published in its 2023 Design Trends Report that “kitchens are opening up and expanding overall functionality with a focus on more efficient storage and concealed workspaces.” The report combines the feedback from over 600 kitchen and bath specialists regarding what trends they are seeing take over in kitchens. The NKBA has emphasized that consumers are looking for kitchens that are seamlessly integrated into the home and multifunctional with a splash of style.
The NKBA report notes that consumers are desiring kitchens which seamlessly flow between different living spaces in the home. Appliance trends have followed suit by blending sleekness, efficiency, and multi-functionality.
Consumers want their appliances seamlessly and conveniently integrated into their kitchens, and those kitchens are expanding both physically and conceptually. Islands are being designed to accommodate more prep areas, with consumers purchasing more than one of the same appliance to fill those spaces. According to NKBA, consumer purchases of “multiple ovens, either two large single ovens or the use of one large and one small” are up 64 percent. Induction ranges are also being favored by consumers because they are easy to clean and more efficient for cooking.
An appliance that embodies many of these trends in multifunctional kitchens is Café’s 30″ Smart Slide-In, Front-Control, Induction and Convection Double-Oven Range. Café is a luxury series of appliances by GE, and its double-oven range hits all the major consumer trends by combining style, smart technology, and multi-functionality. It has an induction range and comes equipped with two independent ovens capable of convection and –yes! – air-frying. Having multiple cooking functions in one oven saves consumers space in their kitchens.
Café’s double-oven range is also outfitted to the nines with smart tech that makes the cooking process more streamlined. The appliance has built-in Wi-Fi that can be accessed through the SmartHQ app. The app is outfitted with several appealing features which can heighten the cooking experience, including downloadable cooking upgrades such as the air frying function and gourmet cooking videos that can be synchronized with the oven.
Connected Kitchen Appliances Are All the Rage and Here to Stay
Beyond spatial design, kitchen appliances also need to adjust to modern society’s desire to make every action as streamlined and efficient as possible. This means integrating smart technology into appliances. NKBA reports that connected products for the kitchen are becoming more run-of-the-mill. According to the 2023 Design Trends Report, smart app-based technology that is incorporated into kitchen appliances saw a 51 percent increase. Smart appliance features that are most favored by consumers include “precision-cooking, motion-sensor faucets, alerts for open refrigerator doors, taps that increase water purity, and the demand for steam and air frying technology to be integrated into ovens.” Consumer proclivity for these smart capabilities is up 73 percent.
A benefit of connected kitchen appliances with smart technology is that cooking processes can be commenced, managed, and achieved with a couple of taps in an app. This increased reliance on smart technology, especially in the kitchen, can help explain some recent market trends. In 2023, the NKBA reported in its Kitchen & Bath Market Outlook Report that consumers are more likely to turn to appliances when revamping their kitchens. Remodeling, rather than new construction, will support the kitchen and bath industry in 2023 due to high inflation and a decline in consumer savings and spending.
Cooking Comfort in the Great Outdoors
According to NKBA, luxury outdoor kitchens are becoming more common and favored by consumers in 2023. To demonstrate this, the 2023 Design Trends Report indicates a 74 percent increase in “removing walls that lead into adjacent rooms and incorporating large windows to create the appearance of a kitchen fusing with the outdoors.”
The association credits this trend to the COVID-19 pandemic, which “drove more in-home entertaining and cooking” and “propelled a need to expand into outdoor spaces to accommodate this shift.” Home cooking also became more common for many during lockdown. It is less expensive and more practical for many consumers than eating out or ordering in. Plus, it offers a sense of creative fulfillment and accomplishment. Three years on, trends demonstrate that an increase in luxury outdoor kitchen installations shows the cooking skills consumers developed indoors are moving outside. Outdoor kitchens are only as good as their appliances, which need to withstand the elements, enhance the space, and be able to support food prep in a whole new environment.
Hestan’s GE Series 12′ Outdoor Living Suite with Campania Pizza Oven and Bar is luxury embodied. Modeled after a kitchen bar countertop, the Living Suite has cutouts for a 42″ Hestan Built-in Grill, 42″ Hestan Access Door or Drawer/Door Cabinet, 33″ Campania Pizza Oven, 36″ Hestan Storage Drawer, and 24″ Hestan Refrigeration Product. The Living Suite has single-point gas and electrical connections that streamlines fuel and power for all products in the outdoor kitchen. To ensure the highest quality performance outdoors, the suite is constructed of stainless steel and is equipped with weatherproof outlets to sustain whatever the elements bring. Appliances for the Living Suite are sold separately.
Soaking up the sun has its advantages in cooking as well. The GoSun Fusion is the first-of-its-kind premier solar oven that has the capability to cook without the sun. The Fusion tube is patented technology and ensures efficient insulation by capturing sunlight with two parabolic reflectors and concentrating it into the cooking chamber. The GoSun Fusion harnesses the power of the sun and can cook, bake, fry, steam, or broil inside the evacuated tube. The device is also able to be used at night, or at any time when the sunlight is unavailable, by plugging it into a 12V source of power.
Kitchens and their appliances are becoming more integrated into our lives and homes. Consumers in 2023 are looking for their kitchens to wear multiple hats by remaining a place to gather and entertain, building upon their technological capability, and redefining themselves by mixing up their layout and location. By staying up to date on kitchen appliance trends, specifically multifunctionality and embedded smart technology, as well as general design trends such as the implementation of luxury outdoor kitchens, appliance retailers can help consumers achieve the kitchen of their dreams.