Nearly two-thirds of homeowners—66 percent—say that now is a good time to invest in their homes, and kitchens are one of the key areas they are improving, according to a new survey by the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI).
“What we found is that homeowners across the country are seeing more construction activity in their area, and kitchen remodeling rates specifically are at 2006 pre-recession levels, the year RICKI first measured it,” says RICKI Executive Director Brenda Bryan. “Another positive indicator is that two out of three homeowners feel that now is a good time to invest in their homes, and an equal proportion say they would rather renovate their homes than move.”
The homeowners who stated that now was a good time to invest tended to be older Baby Boomers with household incomes of more than $150,000 who use the internet as a tool for shopping.
The study, “Consumer Trends: From Remodeling Rates to Technology Trends,” was conducted among 1,005 U.S. homeowners in February 2013.
The study measured the use of technology in the kitchen, finding that 44 percent of homeowners charge an electronic device in the kitchen.
“There have been a lot of resources over the past few years put toward integrating technology into home kitchens, in refrigerators, for instance, and there is some interest in this type of innovation among homeowners, but when it comes to their vision of the perfect technology for their kitchens, they mostly want technology to help them with the time-consuming and typically unpleasant task of cleaning up,” Bryan says.
Survey participants who are planning a kitchen remodel in the next 12 months were also asked which of 15 different products they plan to purchase for the project and if they have a specific brand or two in mind for each planned purchase. No product category achieved a majority of homeowners saying they have a brand or two in mind.
“Across all 15 categories, name brands for kitchen products are not top of mind among homeowners, even those who are actively planning a kitchen remodel in the coming year,” Bryan says. “For example, on the high end, 46 percent of these homeowners have a brand of refrigerator in mind. One the other end of the spectrum is cabinet hardware. Only 10 percent of homeowners have a brand in mind for cabinet hardware for their upcoming project.”
The study also highlights a notable tone of regret among some homeowners who have recently completed minor improvements or undertaken full-remodels of their kitchens.
“As we have found in previous RICKI research, once a project is completed, there’s a sizeable number of homeowners who wished they had sprung for better cabinets or higher-end appliances,” according to Bryan. “The research suggests that interior designers and product manufacturers would do well to focus on this common feeling among homeowners. It can mean spending more money and perhaps going a little over budget, but homeowners will be far happier in the long run. It’s an investment that will pay off virtually every day for the life of the kitchen. Faucets, for instance, are the most used and abused item in the kitchen so if the kitchen faucet purchase is positioned in this way and homeowners think of it as the product that could most impact their daily kitchen experience, they might just see the value and open up their wallets a bit wider.”
To find out more about this study or RICKI, visit www.KitchenTrends.org.—Tanja Kern