Kitchen Cabinetry

Part
01
of nine
Part
01

Kitchen Renovation Trends

Key Takeaways

  • Oak is popular again due to new homeowners feeling nostalgic about their childhoods and wishing for a return to that familiar simplicity.
  • White continues to be the most popular choice for cabinets, with an article at Sebring declaring it part of a "Clean Aesthetics" trend.

Introduction

A desire for clean, simple aesthetics is driving homeowners to adopt open shelving, oak cabinets, and primarily white cabinetry in 2021. Nostalgia and familiarity are also behind the trends, leading to the rise in popularity of earth tones (however, white still dominates as the most popular color choice).

Open Shelving

Oak is Popular Again

White Still the Most Popular Choice, but Darker Tones are Rising

  • White continues to be the most popular choice for cabinets, with an article at Sebring declaring it part of a "Clean Aesthetics" trend.
  • Mario Avalos, a real estate agent in Florida, acknowledges the ongoing popularity of white cabinets: "White countertops … or white cabinetry … makes it so much easier to sell, says Avalos. “The developers that I work with, that’s been their cookie-cutter kitchen, and buyers love it.”
  • Darker tones are increasing in popularity, however, according to an article at Homelight. "Moody hues" allow homeowners and designers to play with their creativity, including pairing cabinets with earth tones.
  • Hampton Bay has an assortment of dark and earth tone cabinets for sale at Home Depot (example below).
Part
02
of nine
Part
02

Consumer Approach to Kitchen Renovations

Key Takeaways

  • The third-quarter 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI) report of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) showed steady growth in the industry. "We’re grateful to be one of a few industries that have actually seen growth in response to consumers spending more time at home and looking to make their spaces more functional in this new normal," said NKBA CEO Bill Darcy.
  • As homeowners spend more time at home than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flaws in the kitchen that used to be simply annoying are now magnified. Consumers who just wondered whether their home was ready for renovation are now certain.
  • Many homeowners are upgrading their homes by including features that improve their comfort, such as radiant floor heating in the course of the renovation of their kitchens, and other rooms.

Introduction

Information on how consumers have changed their approach to kitchen renovations since the onset of COVID-19 has been provided below. The change in approach includes things specific to functionality, a tendency to see more flaws, and flooring preferences.

Findings

  • The third-quarter 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Index (KBMI) report of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) showed steady growth in the industry with the KBMI at 61.9, rising from 44.2 in the second quarter and 41 in the first quarter.
  • "We’re grateful to be one of a few industries that have actually seen growth in response to consumers spending more time at home and looking to make their spaces more functional in this new normal," said NKBA CEO Bill Darcy.
  • Over half (62%) of the companies surveyed in the report stated that their business saw higher demand driven by COVID-19 in the third quarter of 2020.
  • As homeowners spend more time at home than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flaws in the kitchen that used to be simply annoying are now magnified. Consumers who just wondered whether their home was ready for renovation are now certain.
  • More people spending time at home makes renovation a necessity. Even if it is occupied by only a few people, there is more frequent use of everything in the house.
  • As a result of the pandemic, kitchen and bath remodeling saw a 40% rise in demand in June 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. "More people are cooking and eating at home, and kitchens are now even more the center of family life".
  • The 2021 Market Outlook report of the NKBA showed that the industry is set for continued growth in 2021 as total spending for both kitchen and bath projects is projected to increase.
  • Homeowners identified the kitchen and bath as two times "more important than other spaces within the home, and the kitchen particularly gained status throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with 70% of homeowners considering it extremely important compared to 64% prior to the crisis".
  • 2021 could see a shift from the 2020 DIY boom toward jobs that require the services of a kitchen and bath professional. A lot of such jobs may have been "postponed by homeowners during the pandemic, due to health risks associated with having someone inside the home".
  • The July update of the 2021 Market Outlook report of the NKBA indicates that more homeowners want to allocate more of their discretionary spending funds to home improvement than to any other category. Kitchen projects are the most popular, with 55% of those "who plan a remodel will be doing so for their kitchens".
  • The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a rise in home remodeling projects as homeowners are upgrading their homes for more functionality by adding gyms and office spaces. Many homeowners are upgrading their homes by including features that improve their comfort, such as radiant floor heating in the course of the renovation of their kitchens, and other rooms.

Research Strategy

For this research on how consumers have changed their approach to kitchen renovations since the onset of COVID-19, we leveraged credible sources including the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), Forbes, Sweeten, CNBC, and Freedonia Group. The full details of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) research reports are paywalled.


Part
03
of nine
Part
03

Kitchen Use Since COVID-19

Key Takeaways

  • Based on a recent survey from Hunter, over half of the respondents (54%) mentioned that they are now cooking more as they settled in for long home confinement periods due to the pandemic.
  • According to a study from Chicory, online searches for "basic homemade bread" jumped by 342.76%, "how to make banana bread" by 171.54%, and "how to make your own sourdough starter" by 517.98%.
  • With grocery sales increasing by 83% across the U.S. during the pandemic, a certified professional organizer recommended organizing the kitchen to save on grocery shopping and meal preparation time.

Introduction

An overview of how consumers are using their kitchens differently since the onset of COVID-19 is presented below. Some of the findings include insights on increase in the usage of the home kitchen during the pandemic. However, there were no detailed quantitative insights found on the frequency of use of the home kitchen. There were also few insights found with regard to how the kitchen cabinets were used differently since the onset of the pandemic. Some helpful and relevant findings with regard to the usage of the kitchen cabinets in general were provided as well.

  • Based on a recent study by food and beverage marketing agency HUNTER, Americans are becoming more confident around the kitchen as they settled in for long home confinement periods due to the pandemic.
  • Based also on the survey, over half of the respondents (54%) mentioned that they are now cooking more. Around 46% reported that their baking activities increased.
  • For the respondents who mentioned that they are cooking more while confined at home, 75% reported that they have found increased confidence around the kitchen. Meanwhile, 50% said that they are still learning how to cook. Around 73% mentioned that they found cooking enjoyable. As for the 51%, they said that they will still continue their heightened cooking activity even after the pandemic ends.
  • Some of the reasons why Americans increased their cooking frequency at home include the following: cost savings (58%), healthier food consumption (52%), experimenting with new recipes (50%), and discovering cooking to be a relaxing activity.
  • Americans were long considered to be eternal optimists. In the midst of a crisis, they have a history of finding ways to stay on top of any situation. This time, they are re-channeling their passion and creativity into the kitchen, finding delight not just in the act of cooking, but also in the benefits derived from the activity.
  • Several respondents also stated that they are finding out about new ingredients (38%) and brands (45%) while sheltered at home. Some reported rediscovering new items that can be added to their recipes (24%) that they have not used for some time.
  • Approximately one-third (34%) of all respondents stated that they were looking for additional recipes and meal preparation knowledge (31%). Americans are particularly interested in "simple, practical meal solutions" (61% ) and alternative recipes to utilize existing ingredients (60% ). More than half of consumers are also searching for new techniques to cook healthier (47%). Around 45% are looking for some inspiration to experiment with new dishes (45%). Meanwhile, 35% of recipe users are looking for a culinary project and motivation to know more about new cooking methods.
  • The figures below show some insights on how consumers are now using their kitchen during the pandemic:

  • Blue Apron, a company that supplies meal kits, reported a 27% surge in meal kit sales. This growth was attributed to a big jump in the number of families staying together and cooking in their own homes due to "stay-at-home orders" and restaurants' partial closures.
  • At-home baking has surged in popularity as a default quarantine pastime in US homes, resulting in a transformation in consumer preferences toward previously disregarded ingredients in their kitchen cabinets and an increase in demand for heavily scrutinized commodities such as "refined sugar."
  • Both men and women are engaged in baking activities. Furthermore, the demographics of the baking population show that they are now younger and more gender-balanced, indicating a transformed future of at-home baking.
  • Based on the survey of the U.S. Sugar Association, almost half of the audience discussing baking online is between the ages of 18 and 24, while 27% is between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • Around 75% of those who discuss baking topics are under the age of 34, contradicting popular perceptions around baking.
  • Parents are the primary group who are looking for baking activities to keep their children occupied in the kitchen while staying at home. Many of them perceive baking as a capability-building activity that can help develop "math, science, reading, coordination, and problem solving" expertise.
  • Meanwhile, interest in bread baking reached new heights.
  • According to a study from Chicory, online searches for "basic homemade bread" jumped by 342.76%, "how to make banana bread" by 171.54%, and "how to make your own sourdough starter" by 517.98%.
  • According to the CEO of Ardent Mills, bread has surpassed all other foods and recipes as the preferred staple for the majority of Americans. The item has become a source of comfort in these uncertain times. Basic bread and its limitless varieties are staples of kitchen cabinets that provide a "sense of normalcy." ​According to the latest IRI data released by the American Bakers Association, retail flour sales revenue surged by 220% year over year.
  • While baking bread is turning out to be a popular hobby while confined at home, there is an expectation that the trend will persist after COVID-19, when people will be more conscientious about their spending.
  • Americans have also developed a newfound fondness for eggs. Eggs have also become another popular commodity for those who are engaged in cooking and baking activities in their home kitchen. This food item experienced a dramatic increase in demand at the height of the pandemic.
  • ​One company saw a 30% to 200% surge in orders from retail clients as consumers use eggs more due to its natural adaptability as a baking component or the major protein on the dinner table.
  • Meanwhile, an AMC Global survey revealed that 32% of the respondents mentioned that are planning on cooking more at home even after the pandemic has passed. Around 35% said that they will also allot more time with their family.
  • Around one-third of those surveyed mentioned that they have increased their baking activities during the pandemic. Approximately 20% feel that they will still keep this hobby even after the pandemic.
  • Based also on a report from the New York Times, the younger generation is using technology such as FaceTime to learn more about kitchen tips from their parents.
  • As people cook together more inside their homes, stronger family ties were also observed.
  • Based also on studies made by Bloomberg News and Morning Consult, around one-third of the respondents mentioned that they are still planning to do more home cooking even after the quarantine orders are removed.
  • As per the survey, at-home cooking has increased in popularity among the younger generation. Around 43% of Gen Z surveyed mentioned that they will still continue to engage in cooking activities at home even after the pandemic has passed.
  • As Americans spend more time in the kitchen, grocery chains are observing shifts in shopping behaviors to suit various cooking methods that include complex cooking processes.
  • In a SmartBrief survey, the findings revealed that the increase in "more involved" cooking endeavors shows that people are now becoming more confident in their kitchen skills. Around 58% also mentioned that their cooking abilities have leveled up during the pandemic.
  • According to a report from Healthline, increased at-home cooking activities are requiring a more organized kitchen.
  • With grocery sales increasing by 83% across the U.S., a certified professional organizer recommended organizing the kitchen to save on grocery shopping and meal preparation time.
  • She also recommended regularly cleaning out kitchen cabinets to ensure that everything is fresh and there are no expired food items inside.
  • When organizing the kitchen cabinet or the pantry, the expert also recommended the first-in, first-out method when organizing and using grocery items.
  • People are also advised to remove extra tools and appliances, as well as those that are not anymore functioning.
  • Cabinets can also be used to create kitchen zones where certain items can be placed for a more organized kitchen.
  • According to the "J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Kitchen Cabinets Satisfaction Study," customers are more satisfied when purchasing kitchen cabinets from a big box store. The study also mentioned that the number of Americans who are engaged in improving their homes and kitchen cabinets grew by 61% in 2021, an increase of 26 percentage points from the previous year.

Research Strategy

To provide an overview of how consumers are using their kitchens and kitchen cabinets differently since the onset of COVID-19, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including consumer surveys (J.D. Power, Smart Briefs, etc.), industry publications (Food Navigator, etc.), as well as business sites such as Forbes, the Washington Post, and other similar sources. Our findings from these sources revealed insights on the usage of the home kitchen during the pandemic. However, there were no highly detailed quantitative insights found on the frequency of use of the home kitchen. There were also very limited insights found with regard to how the kitchen cabinets were used differently since the onset of the pandemic. Given this, we then included some helpful and relevant findings with regard to the usage of the kitchen cabinets in general.

Part
04
of nine
Part
04

Home Improvement Industry Outlook

Key Takeaways

  • The US home improvement industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2% for the foreseeable future.

Introduction

The US home improvement industry experienced significant growth during the pandemic. Kitchen remodeling is and will continue to be a busy segment of the home improvement industry. Industry experts project a positive outlook for the industry after the pandemic.
  • The US home improvement industry generates over $400 billion in annual revenue. The industry is projected to reach $510 billion by 2024.
  • The industry has been growing at an annual rate of about 4%. According to a report by Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, the US annual home improvement spending will continue to grow at an annual rate of 2% for the foreseeable future.
  • Statistics show that kitchen cabinets were the most popular products in 2020. The demand for kitchen products is also expected to grow into the future.
  • In 2020, kitchen and bath sales grew by 28% during the pandemic period.
  • An upturn in home ownership as younger generations purchase homes has also disrupted the US home improvement industry. The trend has boosted the market and may fuel remodeling activity in the US in the foreseeable future.
  • Statistics show that by 2024, the smart home segment is expected to reach $151.4 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 12%. By 2023, the smart homes penetration rate is expected to reach 53.9% by 2023.
  • According to industry experts, the US home improvement industry has rebounded faster than the US economy after the pandemic. The experts observe that part of the growth has been spurred by an increase in do-it-yourself home improvement projects such as kitchen remodeling, thus giving the industry a positive outlook.
  • Abbe Will, a research associate at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, observes that home improvement projects will spur growth for the national housing industry.
  • The growing demand for products and services in the US home improvement industry will not nurture market consolidation in the future. Many players are likely to enter the market lured by the lucrative opportunities to make profits.
  • Although many retailers closed down during the pandemic, the growing demand is likely to usher in new entrants. Moreover, both large and small retailers in the home improvement market are likely to witness a surge in sales, thus discouraging market consolidation.
  • Demand for environmentally friendly homes and renovations is likely to be the new standard for remodelers in the US. According to IBISWorld, the US home improvement industry will experience a surge in demand for energy-efficient materials and products over traditional lumber.
  • Some states and provinces have already developed laws requiring remodelers to use such materials, thus setting the pace for future demand.



Part
05
of nine
Part
05

Kitchen Cabinet Purchase Journey: Consumers

Key Takeaways

  • 49% of consumers would only replace kitchen cabinetry if it weren't functioning properly, 34% would consider doing it for design-related reasons, while 17% would definitely replace it for design purposes only.
  • Consumers tend to research kitchen cabinets online before purchasing, without having any particular brands in mind.
  • People who buy kitchen cabinets tend to be the most satisfied when they purchase from big-box retailers compared to dealers.

Introduction

The report includes purchase drivers for kitchen cabinets, which are adding space, replacing cabinetry that isn't functioning properly, and changing the design, along with several drivers for kitchen remodeling. It also provides key choice factors, such as whether the cabinets will improve the organization and declutter kitchen space and aesthetic reasons. Additionally, it presents an overview of aesthetic trends, top brands, the major source of information on kitchen cabinets, and the most common place to buy them. Furthermore, the report includes a list of professionals are typically hired during kitchen remodeling, along with data on how many people prefer to hire a professional for kitchen renovations and the growing popularity of consumers installing cabinets on their own.

Purchase Drivers

  • According to the 2021 US Houzz Kitchen Remodeling Study, the priority for renovating homeowners is to add more storage space, which is why so many of them renovate or replace the cabinets.
  • Specifically, 94% do some work on their kitchen cabinets and 63% replace all of their cabinets. Among those who chose partial upgrades, 28% added some new cabinets.
  • The study also includes events triggering the remodel. While they are not specific to cabinets, they are likely applicable, given the large number of consumers that reported doing work on their cabinets. The events are:
    • "Wanted to do it all along and finally have the means" (40% of respondents),
    • "Can no longer stand the old kitchen" (35%),
    • "Old kitchen deteriorated or broken down" (30%),
    • "Wanted to personalize a recently purchased home" (28%),
    • "Recently inspired to make certain changes" (14%).
  • According to a different survey by New Home Trends Institute (NHTI), 49% of consumers would only replace their cabinetry if it weren't functioning properly, 34% would consider replacing it for design purposes without functional reasons, while 17% would definitely replace it for design purposes only.
  • For reference, a study by MasterBrand Cabinets that surveyed consumers in North America discovered that major reasons for kitchen remodeling are refreshing out-of-date spaces (for 62% of respondents), wanting the kitchen to function better (37%), wanting more storage (35%), wanting to create a new look for the space (64%), and being concerned with the long-term value of the home (36%).

Key Choice Factors and Information Sources

  • National Kitchen and Bath Association found that decluttering, easy cleaning and targeted storage are priorities when remodeling, especially for kitchens and bathrooms, which means that the trend is also applicable to kitchen cabinets. Therefore, one of the primary concerns when choosing kitchen cabinets is how well they will help to organize the space.
  • To illustrate the above point, the previously referenced study by Houzz discovered that many people who decide to upgrade their cabinets choose built-in organizers, including cookie sheets/trays, spices, deep drawer, cutlery, pots and pans, utensils, and dishes.
  • According to J.D. Power, brand awareness is not an important factor when choosing kitchen cabinets, because it is relatively low.
  • Aesthetic reasons are especially important for purchasing kitchen cabinets. The same can be said about countertops and drawer pulls and handles.
  • Consumers tend to research information online before making a purchase, which is why manufacturers should focus on establishing an online presence, which would differentiate themselves from the competition.

Style and Design Preferences

  • Since aesthetic reasons were named as particularly important for choosing new cabinets, we examined some of the current preferences related to style and design.
  • The study by Houzz found that 41% of consumers want white cabinetry, 13% - medium-tone wood, 10% - gray, 9% - multicolored, and 7% - lightwood.
  • At the same time, the most popular door styles for upgraded cabinets are shaker, flat-panel, raised-panel, and glass-front.
  • 41% of consumers choose custom cabinets during the upgrade, 35% - semi-custom, 11% - stock, and 8% - ready to assemble.
  • Furthermore, the survey by NHTI discovered that most people prefer cabinets with solid doors. 82% of mature singles and couples don't want any open shelving. The only consumer group who prefers some open shelving is young families.
  • Overall, for kitchen remodeling, the most popular styles are transitional (21% of consumers who want a style change), modern (15%), contemporary (14%), farmhouse (12%), and traditional (11%).

Where Cabinets Are Purchased and Top Brands

  • According to the free preview of the latest US Kitchen Cabinets Satisfactory Study by J.D. Power, customers are more satisfied when they buy kitchen cabinets from big-box retailers, compared to dealers.
  • The same study found that kitchen cabinet brands that have the highest customer satisfaction index, based on five groups of factors (design features, operational preference, ordering and delivery, price, and warranty), are Quality Cabinets, SEKTION (IKEA), KraftMaid, Decora, American Woodmark, and Kitchen Craft. The industry average index is 858 out of 1,000. All of these brands are on par or above the average.
  • An article in House Beautiful takes several brands from an older (2020) J.D. Power survey and includes the typical places to buy them. Top brands are usually available through big-box retailers and home improvement centers such as IKEA and Home Depot.

Installation Trends

  • J.D. Power suggests that consumers are increasingly interested in do-it-yourself renovations, including upgrades to kitchen cabinets. Being involved in the process from beginning to end gives them satisfaction and helps them save money.
  • While further information on how consumers typically install new kitchen cabinets is not available, the study by Houzz includes top service providers hired for kitchen renovations. They are general contractors (49%), cabinet makers (27%), and kitchen designers (19%).
  • The same study discovered that 85% of respondents either hired or plan to hire a professional during kitchen remodeling.

Research Strategy

We found most of the information on the typical purchase journey for consumers looking to buy kitchen cabinets in consumer trends reports and consumer surveys. We also used articles in design and remodeling media for additional context. While some data were available for kitchen cabinets specifically, they were limited, which is why we also presented information for kitchen remodeling (when applicable). Each finding includes information on whether it is specific to kitchen cabinets or relevant for kitchen remodeling.

It is worth noting that J.D. Power US Kitchen Cabinet Satisfactory Study includes more extensive information on the pathway to purchase. However, the complete study is paywalled. This brochure provides details on what is included in the study. The contact form to order the study is available here.
Part
06
of nine
Part
06

Kitchen Cabinet Purchase Journey: Professionals

Key Takeaways

  • Experts and contractors prioritize the quality kitchen cabinet manufacturers that offer different categories of cabinets, including pre-assembled, ready-to-assemble, semi-custom, and custom cabinets.
  • Due to a competitive cabinet manufacturing market in the US, it is easier for contractors to find stylish, durable, and functional cabinets at a fair budget.
  • Experts scour different sources to get information and inspiration on kitchen cabinets, such as the home-improvement websites, Pinterest, blogs, and social media platforms such as YouTube.

Introduction

To provide the typical purchase journey for experts/professionals looking to buy kitchen cabinets, this report has included the key factors that experts consider when choosing new kitchen cabinets, such as brand awareness, quality, and budget. This research has also included where experts typically source information and inspiration on kitchen cabinets and purchase kitchen cabinets.

Quality

  • Experts and contractors prioritize the quality of kitchen cabinets in terms of aesthetics, functionality, and durability. Today, kitchen cabinets come in different grades and types, depending on the manufacturer. The different categories include pre-assembled, ready-to-assemble, semi-custom, and custom cabinets. Experts observe that other than custom quality cabinets, all the other types do not fit perfectly. As such, they come in different sizes and configurations.

Budget

  • Experts and contractors are keen on the pricing and will work with the client’s budget when buying kitchen cabinets. However, top-rated kitchen cabinets are available in different price ranges, making it easier to get quality cabinets at a bargain. Due to a competitive cabinet manufacturing market in the US, it is easier for contractors to find stylish, durable, and functional cabinets at a fair budget.

Brand Awareness

  • Brand awareness is a crucial element for kitchen cabinet contractors. According to industry experts, competitive and high-rated contractors will always consider and prioritize kitchen cabinet manufacturers that have embraced brand awareness. These manufacturers include; IKEA, Kraftmaid, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, Snaidero USA, Merillat, All Wood Cabinetry, and RTA Cabinet Store. In some instances, Kitchen cabinet professionals also buy cabinets directly from other contractors and home centers or stores such as Home Depot.

Kitchen Cabinet Inspiration

  • Experts scour different sources to get information and inspiration on kitchen cabinets. Popular websites such as Houzz and Pinterest, for instance, are a source of inspiration for cabinet renovations, designs, and re-modeling projects. Blogs and social media platforms such as YouTube are also preferred sources of information and inspiration on kitchen cabinets.
  • Kitchen cabinet professionals also source industry information from their colleagues and digital influencers. However, more experts are today turning to trade shows and showrooms as they are more practical. Trade shows and showrooms are more efficient as they practically show the optimal use of cabinets in different kitchen sizes. In this case, contractors and experts can experiment with different products and innovations on the spot.
  • Big box store salespeople have also proven to be a source of inspiration for home improvement contractors. These sales agents provide information on the best cabinets for different budgets, the quality of wood used to make the cabinets, material for hinges and drawer glides. Experts typically tend to buy kitchen cabinets from reputable showrooms, especially those with a wide range of brands.

Research Strategy

To provide the typical purchase journey for experts/professionals looking to buy kitchen cabinets, this research has relied on various credible and publicly available sources such as Cabinet Corp, the Spruce and Home Art Tile Kitchen & Bath. With the help of these sources, this research has managed to provide key factors that experts consider when choosing new kitchen cabinets, such as brand awareness, quality, and budget. The sources have also helped us to zero in on where experts typically source information and inspiration on kitchen cabinets and where experts typically purchase kitchens. Due to time limitations, however, we could not expand our scope to include kitchen renovation data in the renovation market as a whole.

Part
07
of nine
Part
07

Kitchen Cabinet Pain Points

When purchasing kitchen cabinets, significant pain points relate to getting matching (fitting) designs and delayed supplies. A recent hike in lumber prices and increased post-COVID-19 demand has lead to shortages of cabinets (including kitchen cabinets). This pain point confronts builders and remodelers, especially those seeking to purchase "items manufactured overseas." Kitchen cabinet purchasers are "pretty frustrated, confused, or even angry right now."

Challenges Related to Design and Plan

  • A significant pain point facing consumers purchasing kitchen cabinets relates to a challenge in sourcing cabinets with matching (fitting) designs.
  • Obstructions often challenge the installation of purchased kitchen cabinets. To avoid this, consumers plan with contractors in detail ahead of purchase and installation. Contractors often go as far as using sledgehammers on soffits to ensure that wayward kitchen pipes do not eventually undo consumer cabinetry plans.
  • According to Ronda Kaysen (a real estate section award-winning journalist with The New York Times known for the "Right at Home" column), a kitchen renovation is not easy. It is similar to "assembling a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle" because the addition of every piece of item is dependent on a previous one and requires some design and planning.

Labor Shortages

  • Labor shortages have made home improvement projects (particularly those related to the kitchen renovation) quite complicated.
  • Consumers needing the services of design firms to determine the cabinets to buy for their kitchens or bathrooms have to wait longer. Product and labor shortages are negatively "impacting [the ability of] design firms."
  • Kitchen cabinet designers and makers, amongst other service providers, are currently struggling to keep up with consumer demand.

Delayed Supplies

  • The recent shortage in materials (like cabinets) needed for kitchen renovation has "been exacerbated by a home renovation boom that defied" recession. Semi-custom cabinets that once required three to four weeks to arrive now take 13 weeks or more due to pandemic-related challenges and delays.
  • Consumers find it challenging getting contractors, designers, cabinetmakers, electricians, and plumbers to keep up with their demands and meet deadlines. Many clients have heightened expectations and are eagerly awaiting fixtures for their kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Some consumers who had designed their kitchen spaces, already hired contractors, and selected their choice cabinets before the national COVID-19 shut down still had not succeeded in getting their replacement cabinets to arrive as of April 2021. This delay forced them to use old frail-looking cabinets with collapsing drawers that were overdue for replacement.
  • As of April 2021, consumers visiting local IKEA stores across the United States for kitchen cabinets were still experiencing a shortage in supplies. The delayed delivery of purchased (ordered) kitchen cabinets now cause "an overall headache for everyone involved."
  • Consumers of IKEA's kitchen cabinets are bothered by the absence of cabinets at IKEA stores. They are demanding to know when they will get their cabinets delivered. "Unfortunately, the answer appears to be that" even IKEA doesn't know.
  • As of September 2021, the supply chain of United States bathrooms and kitchen accessories remained disrupted. The short supply of bathroom accessories had reached 75%, while the shortage of cabinets had reached 63%.
  • In the recent United States Kitchen and Bath Market Index published for quarter one of 2021, 45% of dealers and designers are experiencing material shortages and increasing product pricing and project lead times for consumers.
  • 60% of manufacturing facilities now deliver products to consumers with an average lead time of six or more weeks. This delay represents a significant increase compared to the previous quarter.
  • Consumers are battling project backlogs as 67% of realtors have had their kitchen and bathroom-related projects backlogged for over three months. For 21% of realtors, this backlog will persist till December 2021.
  • According to an analysis of top-selling kitchen cabinets by Main Line Kitchen Design (a Philadelphia-based design company), many less expensive top-selling brands are presently out of stock and have extended delay delivery issues. Custom kitchen cabinet brands have a delayed delivery time of 6 to 14 weeks. High-end custom cabinet brands require 12 to 24 weeks or a longer delivery time.

Higher Prices

  • Several consumers decided to use the period associated with the COVID-19 pandemic to remodel their homes and opted for IKEA cabinets. Within the period considered, increased demand for imported kitchen cabinets soon exceeded their supply. Meanwhile, the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic hampered deliveries from across the globe.
  • It is not unusual for the prices of items to surge with rising demand and dwindling supply. According to Tyler Higgins (the head of retail practice at AArete, a global consulting firm), suppliers are passing these increases in the cost of fixtures to consumers.
  • According to a recent Kitchen and Bath Market Index (KBMI) compiled by John Burns Real Estate Consulting and the National Kitchen and Bath Products Association (NKBA), the kitchen and bath accessory consumers are facing supply chain issues, transportation costs, and rising material prices. These challenges have forced several home design firms to enforce longer lead times as they seek alternative sources while raising prices to protect their profit margins.

Frantic Alternatives

  • Waiting till 2022 to purchase a kitchen cabinet could imply trading a "faster turnaround" for cost advantages as suppliers have increased prices. Alternatively, several American consumers are frantically (anxiously) ordering "granite counters and ceramic tiles," which can serve as alternatives to wooden cabinets and hoping they get supplied.

Research Strategy

To uncover the primary pain points for consumers when purchasing kitchen cabinets, our research team has examined feedback provided by news organizations, kitchen designers, trade organizations, among other resources. We considered primary pain points as those reported by many credible organizations, industry experts, and consumers. We included challenges requiring significant time or resources to solve than usual. These include pain points affecting leading sellers of kitchen cabinets and other home fixtures like the IKEA stores. A survey conducted among 1,500 American customers indicates that the IKEA products rank among the highest based on overall consumer satisfaction.
Part
08
of nine
Part
08

Kitchen Cabinet Brand Name Importance

Key Takeaways

  • "One of the most important factors that consumers should consider when selecting kitchen cabinetry include their budget, as cabinets can account for between 40% and 50% of the overall cost of a remodeling project."
  • "For homeowners that hire professionals (e.g., contractors, interior designers) to complete their kitchen renovations, including the installation of cabinetry, the most important issue to consider is the professional's portfolio of prior projects, with 38% of respondents to a Housera survey selecting this answer."
  • "According to the most recent survey, the top brands ranked by their satisfaction indexes among U.S. consumers are Quality Cabinets (877), SEKTION (IKEA) (872), KraftMaid (871), Decora (870), American Woodmark (868), Kitchen Craft (858), Omega (851), Hampton Bay (824), and Aristokraft (816)."

Introduction

After an exhaustive search through a variety of credible sources, it has been determined that brand name likely plays a limited role when it comes to selecting new kitchen cabinets. Some of the most important factors for consumers to consider include their budget, decorating styles, quality, design and style of the hardware, cabinet door styles, the cabinets' function, and organization style.

Helpful Findings

Most Important Factors to Consider

  • According to Spruce, one of the most important factors that consumers should consider when selecting kitchen cabinetry include their budget, as cabinets can account for between 40% and 50% of the overall cost of a remodeling project. Another important factor is the quality of the cabinets, preferably selecting cabinets with reinforced corners, solid frames, closed backs, and door and drawer fronts.
  • Decorating styles are crucial factors to consider, focusing on those that blend with the home's architecture and the other rooms' interior designs. Deciding between custom, stock, or semi-custom cabinets is also an important factor to take into consideration. Among kitchen renovators, semi-custom and custom cabinetry is the most popular, with 76% of them selecting this option.
  • Other issues that consumers should take into consideration while selecting new kitchen cabinets, as listed by EdgeWood Cabinetry and HGTV, include the cabinet door styles, the function of the cabinets, the design and style of the hardware, and organization style.
  • For homeowners that hire professionals (e.g., contractors, interior designers) to complete their kitchen renovations, including the installation of cabinetry, the most important issue to consider is the professional's portfolio of prior projects, with 38% of respondents to a Housera survey selecting this answer. Another 35% of them selected a recommendation from a family member or friend, while 34% chose online reviews and ratings.

Consumer Awareness of Different Brands

  • J.D. Power conducted a survey to discover the top kitchen cabinet brands in the United States based on consumer satisfaction (J.D. Power ranked them using a 1,000-point scale). According to the most recent survey, the top brands ranked by their satisfaction indexes among U.S. consumers are Quality Cabinets (877), SEKTION (IKEA) (872), KraftMaid (871), Decora (870), American Woodmark (868), Kitchen Craft (858), Omega (851), Hampton Bay (824), and Aristokraft (816). The current industry average is 858, according to the J.D. Power survey.
  • Customer experience for the J.D. Power satisfaction rankings was based on four different factors, namely design features, operational performance, ordering and delivery, and price.
  • According to Statista, the five most used cabinet brands by construction companies in the United States during the year 2018 were KraftMaid (11.5%), Merillat (7.7%), MasterCraft (6.2%), Timberlake (5.4%), and Decora (5.4%). Around one-third (30.8%) of construction companies in the United States did not install any of the 21 cabinet brands listed in the Statista report. Out of the 21 brands mentioned in the Statista report, only KraftMaid held a double digit share.
  • Cabinet makers were one of the top service providers (27%) that were hired for kitchen renovations in 2021 in the United States behind only general contractors (49%), according to a Houzz kitchen trends survey.

Additional Information

  • Up to 94% of kitchen renovators worked on their cabinets in 2020, and 63% of them replaced all of their kitchen cabinets. More than one-third (31%) of those that worked on their cabinets in 2020 chose to perform partial cabinet upgrades, and 28% of these specific kitchen renovators added cabinets to their renovated kitchen. Nearly half (46%) of the homeowners that added to or upgraded their pantry upgraded the cabinets in the area.
  • When selecting the color of their cabinetry following renovations, 41% of kitchen renovators chose white. This selection was followed by medium wood (13%), gray (10%), multicolored (9%), light wood (7%). The colors beige, blue, black, and dark wood each received 3%.
  • The primary make selected by kitchen renovators that upgraded their cabinets in 2020 were custom (41%), semi-custom (35%), stock (12%), ready to assemble (8%), and other (3%).

Research Strategy:

To determine whether brand name plays a role in choosing kitchen cabinetry for consumers and/or experts, we first searched through reports, articles, and blog posts published by prominent kitchen renovation/remodel or decorating and design sites, which typically present guidelines and tips to assist consumers in making their selections. Such sites included the likes of The Spruce, HGTV, Consumer Kitchens, and EdgeWood Cabinetry, among others. Although the sites provided useful guidance that consumers can take into consideration when making their cabinet decisions, none of them focused on brand name or its importance in the decision-making process.

Next, we searched for recent surveys centered on kitchen or home renovations in the United States. We wanted to see if such surveys would question consumers or experts on the most important factors they focus on when selecting new kitchen cabinets. We came across a few surveys providing insight into the latest trends surrounding kitchen renovations/remodeling, including the latest surveys from Houzz and J.D. Power. However, the surveys that we found did not provide any useful details to help us to determine the role that brand name plays in selecting new kitchen cabinets.

Afterward, we checked statistical websites, such as Statista, to see if we could find any indication of the role that brand name plays in selecting new kitchen cabinets. Specifically, we wanted to find statistics showcasing consumers' or experts' awareness of the various cabinet brands. We also wanted to find statistics indicating the importance of brand name in the selection process compared to quality, price, and ease of installation. Although this research path yielded limited results, we were able to find information on the top cabinet brands used by construction companies.

Due to the limited availability of information, we made the assumption that brand name does not play a significant role in choosing kitchen cabinetry for consumers and experts. Instead, consumers and experts mostly focus their attention on their budgets, decorating styles, quality, design and style of the hardware, cabinet door styles, the cabinets' function, and organization style.
Part
09
of nine
Part
09

Recommended Kitchen Cabinet Brands

We've identified the kitchen cabinet brands StarMark Cabinetry, KraftMaid, Wellborn Cabinet, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, and Merillat Cabinetry as five of the most highly recommended by industry experts in the US. The brands' overviews, websites, and our research strategy were included below.

1. StarMark Cabinetry

  • StarMark Cabinetry started in South Dakota in 1978 and now offers custom-built cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms all over the US through dealers and distributors.
  • The company's website is starmarkcabinetry.com.
  • StarMark Cabinetry's prices are not considered expensive compared to a home center's prices, and each of them is made to last a lifetime.
  • Each kitchen cabinet is custom-made and built by hand in the US in 1/16 inch increments to use the space efficiently. Once the cabinet is made, it arrives at the client's home assembled, allowing the customer to save in installation expenses.
  • StarMark Cabinetry builds cabinet boxes, doors, drawers, and roll trays, always using high-quality hardwoods.
  • The cabinets panels and shelves are built with thick hardwood plywood to support heavy granite countertops. Its interior is made of natural birch melamine.
  • The doors' designs can be mitered, slab, cope-and-stick, applied moulding, inset, or raised in 3,000+ combinations of doors, finishes, and wood.
  • Mainline Kitchen Designs has given StarMark Cabinets a 5/5 price score, A+ in quality, and A in value.
  • This kitchen cabinets brand is recommended by multiple industry experts, including Distinctive Cabinetry, Puustelli Kitchens, My Domaine, Love Home Designs, Mainline Kitchen Designs, Kitchen Cabinets Reviews, and USA Cabinet Store, among others.

2. KraftMaid Cabinetry

  • This kitchen cabinetry brand is a household name as one of the most popular pre-fabricated cabinet brands sold through home design retailers. Each cabinet is assembled in an authorized facility before sending to the client's home.
  • Although their cabinets are semi-custom, their affordability, quality, variety, design, and innovative accessories make them one of the favorites by the experts and almost feel custom-made.
  • The company promises quality cabinets made to last a lifetime and fabrication standards that exceed the ones established by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA).
  • They offer a limited lifetime warranty, over 100 door styles, 14 wood species, custom sizes, finishes, hardware, and details.
  • While they specialize in American-style cabinets, their door selections include inset, shaker, and slab, among others.
  • Mainline Kitchen Designs has given KraftMaid a score of 4/5 in price, A- in quality, and A- in value.
  • KraftMaid is recommended by multiple industry experts, including Puustelli Kitchens, The Spruce, My Domaine, Love Home Designs, and Mainline Kitchen Designs, among others.

3. Wellborn Cabinet

  • Wellborn Cabinet is a family-owned company located in Alabama that has been manufacturing closets, bathroom cabinets, and kitchen cabinets for over 50 years. The company's website is wellborn.com.
  • The company offers the kitchen cabinets product lines of Home Concepts, Premier, Select, and Estate.
  • Every piece is made in Alabama and distributed through dealers. Their products include custom product lines, semi-custom designs, and different materials, door styles, finishes, embellishments, colors, lighting, hardware, etc.
  • Its price for the custom options is considered high, but so is its quality and durability. Its warranty depends on the materials selected and goes from five years to a lifetime.
  • The semi-custom cabinets are budget-friendly with materials that include heavy-textured melamine, laminated, and hardwood.
  • Their Estate Collection includes the You Draw It program, which lets customers design their cabinets to unique modifications, sizes, and configurations. The standard for this collection is plywood boxes.
  • Mainline Kitchen Design has given Wellborn Cabinets a store of 4/5 and 5/5 in price, A in quality, and A in value while Kitchen Cabinets Reviews gave it a 9/10 editor rating.
  • Wellborn Cabinets is recommended by multiple industry experts, including Love Home Designs, Home Art Tile, My Domaine, Puustelli Kitchens, Mainline Kitchen Designs, Kitchen Cabinets Reviews, and USA Cabinet Store, among others.

4. Canyon Creek Cabinet Company

  • Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. is located in Monroe, Washington. Its company website is canyoncreek.com.
  • This brand offers affordable cabinets with a high-quality warranty.
  • They match design and efficiency by building customized cabinets specific to the client's space and needs.
  • Their hallmarks of innovation include customization and variety, offering designs that go from traditional to modern, intricate to stylish, and a variety of woods, synthetic materials, laminates, thermofoils, colors, accessories, etc.
  • Canyon Creek has three collections for kitchen cabinets designs: Cornerstone, Millenia, and Katana.
  • Their decorative options are moulding, trim, Brown Wood Inc., and acrylic panels. They also offer different door styles, such as contemporary, edge details, exotic wood veneers, Greenlam, HG acrylic, foil, metal, glass, raised panel, super matte, Katana, laminate, recessed panel, etc.
  • They also work with different wood species, like VG Fir, Sapele, Rift White Oak, Red Oak, Maple, Hickory, Cherry, Black Walnut, Beech, Bamboo, and Alder.

5. Merillat Cabinetry

  • Merillat Cabinetry was founded in 1946 in Michigan and is one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the US, with manufacturing plants all over the country. The company's website is merillat.com.
  • They offer a wide selection of kitchen cabinets with different styles, finishes, and materials, including the standard options of painted, burnished, or glazed finishes.
  • Its fabrication process is environmentally sustainable and its cabinets are KCMA certified with great quality and a warranty from five years to a lifetime.
  • Merillat's kitchen cabinets design styles include traditional, transitional, modern, and country and offer different colors, finishes, and wood species.
  • These cabinets are sold through retailers and local distributors and are often more affordable than similar brands, like KraftMaid.
  • Its kitchen cabinets collections are the Masterpiece, Classic, and Basic Collections.
  • Merillat is recommended by multiple industry experts, including Puustelli Kitchens, The Spruce, Love Home Designs, and Mainline Kitchen Designs, among others.

Research Strategy

For this research on the kitchen cabinet brands most highly recommended by industry experts in the US, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information available in the public domain focusing mainly on recommendations, opinions, and ratings from industry experts, including home centers like Home Depot and Lowe’s; cabinet dealers/distributors like Mainline Kitchen Design, NuForm Cabinetry, Home Art Tile, and USA Cabinet Store; kitchen cabinet builders/contractors like Distinctive Cabinetry, Puustelli Kitchens, and Feinmann; and recognized home design media, magazines, and blogs like The Spruce, My Domaine, USA Today Homes, Kitchen Cabinets Reviews, Love Home Designs, Architectural Digest, and Home Design Magazine.

From their ratings, lists, and recommendations, we identified the five most highly recommended brands of kitchen cabinets in the country based on their repetition and popularity across multiple sources. The most popular were StarMark Cabinetry, KraftMaid, Wellborn Cabinet, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, and Merillat Cabinetry. All these brands had the same name as the manufacturing company.
Sources
Sources

From Part 09