Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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CLIENT DISCOVERY, THE initial phase of any successful kitchen remodel, promises to ascend to new heights in a market populated by a fragmented, diverse universe of homeowners with sharply different aspira- tions, budgets, lifestyles and needs. That's the message implicit in a major research initiative that offers an illuminating glimpse into how today's homeowners use their kitchens, and how changing demographics, attitudes and behaviors impact remodeling decisions and the role that homeowners want design pro- fessionals to play (see Consumer Buying Trends, Page 12). The research, contained in the National Kitchen & Bath Association's newly released "Lifestyle Segmentation Report," identifies five distinct consumer lifestyle seg- ments, while pinpointing key remodeling considerations – for instance, project "triggers," design elements and style preferences – that are similar across all segments. More notable, however, is how each consumer seg- ment is different from the others, characterized by sharply divergent preferences with respect to kitchen layout, product selection and buying sources, as well as func- tional considerations such as cooking, meal prep, dining, clean-up, entertaining and the use of technology. Because of this far-flung dissemblance, the NKBA found, each consumer segment seeks something different from the kitchen designers who serve them. To some homeowners, for example, the kitchen is an important space in which to spend time and attention; others, not so much. Some homeowners – identified as confident, enthusiastic, design-savvy cooks – are hungry for state-of-the-art functionality and profession- al, inspired design assistance. Others, time-constrained and less confident in their cooking skills, are unwilling to seek, or pay for, design assistance. To some, incorpo- rating cutting-edge technology and smart products is a must. Others could care less. But while findings like these are hardly revelatory, they barely scratch the surface of a research initiative that provides nothing less than a groundbreaking profile of today's kitchen clients – as well as a detailed roadmap for dealers, designers, remodelers and showroom associates seeking to qualify prospects and develop specific strate- gies for addressing client needs. And that's no easy task, given the complexities and competitive nature of the current business climate. Today's kitchen market, it's obvious from the NKBA's research, has come light years from a landscape once populated by easily predictable, homogeneous, "main- stream" buyers. In contrast, the research illustrates how the market has become highly fragmented, having splin- tered into diverse subsets with widely differing lifestyles, living arrangements, buying patterns and product prefer- ences. The distribution of household income has become more disparate than ever. Traditional households have morphed into a mix of multi-generational households, single-parent households, senior-citizen households and minority households. Generations X and Y have emerged as major players. The NKBA research paints a vivid, comprehensive portrait of this diverse, evolving, heterogeneous market. More importantly, it underscores the notion that design professionals need to conduct intensive due diligence in order to understand what makes their clients tick and what different types of homeowners want their kitchens – and their kitchen designers – to be. Client discovery, while always essential, is no doubt more critical than ever when it comes to designing inno- vative, well-informed kitchens that address the expanding range of functional and aesthetic needs in today's market. There's clearly no room anymore for a cookie-cutter approach. Kitchen designers can ill afford to greet clients with a one-size-fits-all approach. These days, more than ever, a firm grasp of psychology may be just as important as design expertise and product knowledge. Client discovery must be approached as a serious, in-depth exercise that enables design pros to identify not merely design and product preferences, but the myriad lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors that characterize today's complex, evolving market. ▪ " Client discovery, while always essential, has become more critical than ever in today's fragmented, diverse market." No Room for Cookie Cutters July 2018 • 7 EDITORIAL ® Like us: KitchenBathDesignNews Follow us on Twitter: @KBDN Join the discussion: Follow us on Instagram: @kbdn_sola PUBLISHER Paul DeGrandis PUBLISHER EMERITUS Eliot Sefrin EDITOR Janice Anne Costa MANAGING EDITOR Anita Shaw ASSOCIATE EDITOR Autumn McGarr GROUP EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Patrick O'Toole CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kim Berndtson Joe Dowd Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS Elizabeth Richards Denise Vermeulen COLUMNISTS Ellen Cheever, CMKBD, ASID, CAPS Denise Grothouse Leslie Hart Bruce Kelleran, CKD, CPA John Morgan Ken Peterson, CKD Leah Peterson Mary Jo Peterson, CMKBD, CAPS, CLIPP Sarah Reep, CMKBD, ASID, CMG, CAPS, IIDA Eric Schimelpfenig, AKBD CREATIVE & PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Tracy Hegg SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Erika Nygaard AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Donna Heuberger READER SERVICE MANAGER Jeff Heine DIGITAL PROGRAMS MANAGER Tim Steingraber PROJECTS MANAGER Heidi Riedl Copyright © 2018 by SOLA Group Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be produced in any form, including electronically, without written permission from the publisher of Kitchen & Bath Design News . ELIOT SEFRIN PUBLISHER EMERITUS

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