For many, the beginning of a new year sparks inspiration to welcome change. For others, it may signal a time to tackle projects primed on life’s sidelines.
The Home Improvement Research Institute has observed many households dive into home renovations in recent years, with some product categories, such as kitchen cabinets, displaying a notable increase in purchases in the first half of each year.
Driven mostly by increased time at home during the pandemic, the market for kitchen and bathroom cabinets grew nine percent from 2017 to 2020. Now, as we enter 2023 with a potential recession ahead, professionals in the kitchen cabinet industry may be wondering if their market is on track to follow patterns observed previously.
We’ve analyzed past purchasing trends as well as future market outlooks. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s kitchen cabinet trends.
According to HIRI’s latest market update, the outlook for the entire home improvement market appears to have peaked in 2021, during the height of pandemic-driven stay-at-home orders.
Growth in the total home improvement market is expected to decelerate to 1.5% in 2023, with the consumer market growing by 0.6% and the professional market growing by 3.6%.
Consumer market growth is expected, on average, to be about 2.2% over 2024 through 2026, and the professional market to average 3.2% over the same period.
What does this mean? As we head into a potential recession this year, homeowners will be spending less on home improvement projects. Therefore, HIRI predicts a decrease in kitchen cabinet spending at least in the short term.
Taking a closer look at this segment, the consumer market for kitchen and bath cabinets is expected decline by 7.3% in 2023 and rebound a bit with 4.2% growth anticipated in 2024.
Similarly, growth for the professional market for kitchen and bath cabinets is expected to be only 0.7% in 2023, but accelerates to a swift recovery of 9.3% in 2024.
For marketers focusing on kitchen cabinets, the professional audience would be a smart segment to focus marketing and sales efforts on in these next two years, however, brand awareness and customer satisfaction are two longer-term strategies your company can work on now that will pay off by the time consumers are back on the market.
What do we know about consumers that are on the prowl for kitchen cabinets? A HIRI study that tracked product purchases in kitchen and bath remodeling in 2021 sheds light on key insights.
To begin, 44.2% of kitchen cabinet purchasers in 2021 were Millennials, while another 46.2% were either from the Boomer or Gen X generations. This supports an idea that younger homeowners are more apt to perform home renovations, including kitchen cabinet replacements, because they are first-time home purchasers and may be working on a canvas that needs a bit of TLC.
Additionally, HIRI’s Kitchen and Bath Product Purchase Tracking Study revealed that a majority of purchasers were college graduates or had some college education, and about 60% earned $100K or more. Over half (61.4%) of respondents also had children under 18 years old. This information helps paint the picture that kitchen cabinet purchasers are well established financially and professionally.
It should come as no surprise, then, that 55.5% of kitchen and bath product purchasers said they conducted research before purchasing products for their home renovations, and 34.5% said they conducted extensive research from multiple sources. Consumers treat these decisions as commitments and are willing to investigate for the best option.
When it comes to how they eventually acquire their chosen product, over half (66.5%) of all kitchen cabinet purchasers opt to make a purchase either online or in-person from a home improvement center.
As mentioned previously, project activity is highest in the first two quarters of the year, illustrated by the high percentage of purchases occurring during that time.
When kitchen cabinets were purchased (2021):
This means the best time for targeting members of the desired consumer audience is at the end of the year through the first half, while project planning is high, but the project not yet initiated.
Every year brings around a new kitchen color trend, whether that be green walls or pearl pink marble counters. However, according to a survey conducted by Houzz, white and gray have not foregone their roles as the top choices for kitchen cabinets, backsplash and walls, with white leading as the number one selection.
Alternatively, blue (26%), black (10%) and green (5%) are common options to bring visual interest to cooking spaces through contrasting kitchen island cabinet colors.
HIRI survey respondents report purchasing the following types of kitchen cabinets for their projects in 2021:
Data from The Farnsworth Group’s Contractor Brand Ratings report also summarizes qualities across different brands of kitchen cabinets and rates them from the perspective of the professional.
The top five kitchen cabinet brands of 2022 were:
While the reality is that 2023 appears to be a year that will see little to no growth in the kitchen cabinet market, this is not expected to last long. Shoppers are nervous about their financial future, and their behavior is shifting accordingly, but brands should think of home improvement projects as simply on hold until the economy recovers over the next couple of years.
Savvy brands and retailers will find success by bringing targeted messaging to their target audiences based on their top home improvement priorities in a way that is mindful of those who may be facing financial hardship or settling for a house that will take some sweat equity to transform into the homeowners desired state. Then, when consumers are ready and able to respond to their kitchen improvement desires, your brand will be top of mind.
For full access to data from the HIRI surveys mentioned above, and the raw data files for your analysts to perform their own tabulations on, join HIRI as a member today. Book your consultation to assess what HIRI membership would mean for your cross-functional teams.
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