Kitchen & Bath Design News

OCT 2013

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

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Survey By Janice Costa CONSUMER BUYING PREFERENCES REFLECT Kitchen and bath dealers and designers are seeing changes in everything from consumer priorities and product preferences to spending decisions and the buying process itself, a new KBDN survey reveals. T oday's kitchen and bath consumers are slowly beginning to spend again, but it's clear that a lot has changed in the past few years – and that's impacted everything from consumer priorities and product preferences to spending decisions to the buying process itself. In the kitchen, style still matters, but in many cases, it has taken a back seat to storage and functionality concerns. In the bath, storage concerns are also key, along with new fxtures or fittings, a personalized or unique design and a larger shower (often achieved by replacing the tub). Consumers also seem to be spending more on kitchens than a couple of years ago, though "budget friendly" remains an important consideration. And the factors driving buying decisions may not be what you would expect either, with the three Rs (referrals, reputation, rapport) standing head and shoulders above other factors, while Web sites, social media and online ads scored surprisingly low on the list. That's the result of a recent Kitchen & Bath Design News survey, which polled nearly 200 kitchen and bath dealers and designers about consumer buying preferences, the kitchen and bath shopping process, kitchen and bath spending, who makes the buying decision and more. WHO'S BUYING? Women have traditionally been the primary kitchen and bath consumer, but according to those polled, that's slowly changing. While it's still relatively rare for men to come in alone, couples are shopping together more often. I n fact , when a sked whether the majority of their clients were male, female or a mix of both, a whopping 82.1% said a mix of both – proof that men are gaining parity in the kitchen and bath purchasing process. ➊ Primary Decision Maker for Couples 4.5% Male 46.3% Both Decide Together 49.2% Female of the selection process. Now they are coming to the showroom and asking questions. The woman may still take the lead, but the men are present, and are becoming more a part of the process." By comparison, some 17.9% of survey respondents said their clients were primarily female, while none repor ted having a predominantly male clientele. But while men are clearly more involved in the kitchen and bath buying process, women still dominate the decision making landscape. In fact, when it comes to couples purchasing a new kitchen or bath, dealers and designers say the female makes the major product and design decisions 49.2% of the time, while the male is the primary decision maker less than 5% of the time (see Graph 1). In the other 46.3% of couples, the ➋ Dominant Age Group Among K/B Clients 1.5% Gen Y As one survey respondent points out, "We used to just see the women in the showroom. We might see the husbands later when it was time to write the check, but they weren't generally part 33.6% 11.9% Gen X No Age Group is Dominant 40.3% Baby Boomers 12.7% Mature Buyers 38 | Kitchen & Bath Design News October 2013 ➌ Number of Showrooms Visited Before Purchasing a Kitchen/Bath 0.8% 5+ 41.2% 3-4 58% 1-2 decisions are made jointly. One dea ler expla ins, "W hen we see couples, and we are seeing more of them, our male clients have opinions, and there is more discussion. If there's a diference of opinion, though, the woman in the couple generally has the deciding vote." A s fa r a s what age groups are most likely to be remodeling, the survey showed Baby Boomers as the dominant consumer group, representing 40.3% of the jobs sold (see Graph 2). Some 12.7% of those polled saw mature buyers as their dominant client demographic, while 11.9% found Gen X to be their primary clientele, and 1.5% cited Gen Y as the dominant client age group among their clients. Still, not everyone has the luxury of focusing on one primary age group, as one third of those polled said

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