Kitchen Cabinet Shopping and Purchasing Trends

Kitchen Cabinet Shopping and Purchasing Trends Driving 2023 Behaviors

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.


What to Expect From the Kitchen Cabinet Market in 2023

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.

Home Improvement Market Performance

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. 


Kitchen Cabinet Market Performance

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. 

Purchase Behaviors and Buyer Attitudes 

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. 

Who are they?

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.


Where and when are they buying?

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):

  • Q1: 27.7%

  • Q2: 40.7%

  • Q3: 25.0%

  • Q4: 17.6%

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.

For more infor­ma­tion, take a look at trend­ing com­plet­ed and planned kitchen activ­i­ty in Q1 of 2022 and hol­i­day kitchen and bath ren­o­va­tion intent for Q4 of 2022. 

Consumer Preferences for Kitchen Cabinets

Color

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:

Type

  • Wall: 65.1%

  • Base: 26.6%

  • Pantry: 8.4%


Finish:

  • Paint­ed: 44.9%

  • Stained: 38.6%

  • Lam­i­nate: 16.5%


Brand

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:

  1. IKEA

  2. Kitchen­Craft

  3. Arm­strong­Cab­i­nets

  4. Thomasville

  5. Amer­i­can Woodmark

What Your Brand Can Do

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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