Kitchen or Bathroom Appliances: Purchase Journey

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Kitchen or Bathroom Appliances: Purchase Journey


In recent years more consumers are getting involved in the decision-making and purchase journey when considering a new bathroom or kitchen. An increasing number are electing to undertake the work themselves with a DIY project. One bathroom trend that has caught fire is the digital shower and steam. In the kitchen, the age of the smart refrigerator is upon us. The media plays a significant role in the consumer purchase decision.

Initial Research

  • According to a recent National Kitchen and Bathroom Association (NKBA) survey, the information that consumers are looking for most when starting to research kitchens and bathrooms are price, customer reviews, product specifications, and product recommendations. The same survey found that the channels most consumers used to research these aspects are the internet, friends and family, and store associates.
  • A typical homeowner will take 1-3 months to discover, research, plan, and complete a new kitchen or bathroom. 60% of kitchen remodels, and 72% of bathroom remodels are undertaken because the kitchen or bathroom needed to be updated. 80% of bathroom remodels are for the master bathroom.
  • 60% of homeowners want technology in their master bathroom. The most popular technologies for bathrooms are smart showers, heated floors, centralized and motion-control lighting, leak detection devices connectivity to mobile apps, and sound systems.
  • Almost 25% of consumers spend 6 months researching kitchen and bathrooms before making a purchase. 28% will spend a month researching options, so they feel confident about their decision. 68% of consumers will visit home improvement store websites.

Channels Shopped in

  • Retailers need to present an omni channel approach if they are to engage the consumer. They also need to build a relationship with the consumer to maximize the chance of the consumer engaging with them. Retailers need to ensure that all the information the consumer needs to make a decision is available to the consumer.
  • 80% of consumers visit stores before a major purchase. Consumer research is typically a combination of online and in-store research. 79% of consumers identify the product they want online before going to view it, while 70% of consumers have purchased a product online after viewing it in a store.
  • These metrics show that consumers do not necessarily have a preference as to where they shop for bathroom and kitchen appliances and fixtures. Instead, they are looking to retailers to provide them with options, so they can choose the channel that is the best fit at the time.
  • A 2019 article in Retail Technology Review, discussed the importance of an omni channel approach. Although this was not specific to the purchase of bathroom and kitchen appliances, it does apply to these purchases. The take-home message was retail must incorporate both bricks and clicks if they want to be successful in today's market.

Most Important Parameters

  • In a recent NKBA survey, it was found the top drivers in respect of products are price, quality, design, and appearance.
  • Price and quality speak for themselves. A consumer must always be driven by the budget they have available to them when purchasing kitchen and bathroom appliances and fixtures. Quality is important because consumers want an assurance that the money they are spending is money well-spent, and the products brought will last and perform to expectations.
  • Cleanliness is an important consideration for many consumers in these two areas of the house. The design and appearance need to make the products easy to clean. This is a top pain point for many consumers, who consider it an essential feature.
  • Consumers are looking for improved products and the features those products offer. In most instances, consumers are upgrading when purchasing new appliances. Often the original appliances were purchased at a time when the consumer was looking to save money, so upgrading presents an opportunity to catch up to the new designs and features which they have saved to afford.
  • Another parameter that is important to consumers purchasing bathroom and kitchen appliances is noise. Consumers want their products to minimize the noise pollution throughout the home when the product is in use.


Digital Showering and Steam

  • It may have begun in late 2018, but digital showering and steam remains one of the hottest trends in the smart bathroom market. 34% of consumers want a steam shower and will pay a $2,000 premium to have it when remodeling their bathrooms.
  • The trend is part of the current trend toward healthy living, with many claiming there are significant health benefits to be had with digital showering and steam. Among the benefits cited are cleans and nourishes skin, steam is a natural detox, relieves symptoms of cold, flu, allergies, asthma, and arthritis, promotes sleep and wellness, and with music and effects it can become an immersive and relaxing experience.
  • Digital controls make the shower easy to operate, control the temperature, and shower time. Additional digital features enable the consumer to play music, create mood lighting, add fragrances to the shower, and activate conventional shower heads as required.

Impact on Market

  • The impact that this trend has had is evident in the following example. In 2016, PIRCH was touted as "picking up where Home Depot left off." They offered experiences such as a steam shower. Their products epitomized luxury.
  • Today, the Home Depot sells 642 different steam shower models and generators. Digital and Steam Showers becoming affordable rather than luxury items, has ignited the flames of this trend. As a result, the market has grown, the price range has become more affordable again, and the product range has diversified.
  • When this is coupled with the health benefits a steam shower provides and the current climate of healthy lifestyles it is easy to understand how this trend has become a raging fire.

Company Capitalizing

  • Mr Steam is a company that has capitalized on this trend, with over 100 years experience in the steam industry. Their products included steam irons and evolved to include the steam shower when the trend was gaining momentum. With dealerships across the US, the shower systems have become their mainstay product.

Refrigerator Upgrades

  • Refrigerators will receive a reboot in 2020, with consumers scrambling to replace older models. This trend will see refrigerators become more versatile and multi-functional. The trend sees the refrigerator transform into black matte food stations, with food zones that compartmentalize different foods
  • Smart technology allows consumers to view the contents from their smartphone, receive reminders when running out of milk, and get alerts if the door is left open, as well as a range of other things.

Impact on Market

  • By the end of 2025, the smart refrigerator market will have grown to over $1 billion at a CAGR of 17.7%.
  • The prominent players have grown to include Electrolux AB, Haier Group Corporation, LG, Samsung, Whirlpool Corporation, Siemens AG, GE, Hisense, Midea Group, and Panasonic.

Companies Capitalizing

  • LG, Samsung, and GE are three companies that recognized the potential impact that this trend could have on the market, and developed products to meet the consumer demand. As at March 2019, they were the only three companies that had products on the market.
  • From 2016, Samsung has been at the forefront of this new technology. As a result they have created brand loyalty and recognition among consumers. This has seen them remain on the cutting edge of the technology.


Magazine Advertising and Brand Choice

  • 86% of kitchen buyers and 91% of bathroom buyers changed their shortlisted brands after viewing a media article.
  • 61% of kitchen buyers and 59% of bathroom buyers refined their shortlist after seeing a magazine article. 64% of kitchen buyers and 62% of bathroom buyers changed their preferred brand after viewing a magazine article.

Preferred Brands and Media

  • 84% of kitchen buyers will remain true to their preferred brand over brands that are not advertised in a magazine. The same is true of only 25% of bathroom buyers.
  • For kitchen buyers, a brand is 25% more likely to become the preferred brand if it is advertised in a magazine. The same is true for 43% of bathroom buyers.
  • Display advertisements resulted in a 21% increase in the spending of kitchen buyers and a 25% increase by bathroom buyers.

Influence of Social Media on Consumer Behavior

  • 74% of consumers make purchase decisions based on social media.
  • 45% of consumers said that reading reviews, comments, and feedback influenced their buying behavior.
  • 80% of consumers are likely to buy something based on a friends decision

Influence of Social Media in US

  • Statistica reported that as of 2018, 58% of consumers were influenced by social media when making a purchase decision even if the product was not discovered there.
  • 48% of Americans had purchased products they discovered through social media.
  • Despite this, only 18% of consumers had purchased through social media.

Reasons Brands are Followed on Social Media

  • 56% of consumers following a brand on social media do so to view new products.
  • 41% follow brands to see new products.
  • 35% of consumers are looking for ideas for their next shopping project.
  • 24% are looking for gift ideas and 16% keeping up with trends.

Research Strategy

To identify the relevant trends in the smart appliance and fixtures market, we reviewed a range of industry publications, media articles, and expert opinion. By doing this we were able to identify several trends that have been gaining momentum. We have selected on of the leading smart bathroom and one of the leading smart kitchen trends. We considered something a trend based on the number of articles written about it, the discussion it was generating, and expert commentary.

Surprisingly, the majority of the studies in this area have been completed in the UK. Given this, some US studies have been supplemented by information from the UK.

While we attempted to provide insights relevant specifically to kitchen and bathroom products, this was not possible due to it being a niche market and there being limited research completed regarding it. We have included several general insights relevant to kitchen and bathroom purchases.