A new study conducted by the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) reveals that nearly two out of five homeowners (38%) have seen the level of home repair or construction in their communities increase in the past six months, a nine percentage point jump from three months earlier. The study, called Consumer Trends: From Remodeling Rates to Technology Trends, was conducted among 1,005 U.S. homeowners.
“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,” said 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.”
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 then asked if they have a specific brand or two in mind for each planned purchase. No product category achieves 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,” says Bryan. “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 measured use of certain technologies in the kitchen. Forty-four percent of U.S. homeowners charge an electronic device in the kitchen.
According to Bryan, “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.”
The study 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.”
RICKI, established by a group of professional market researchers, is primarily a membership-based organization consisting of leading manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and other kitchen-related businesses. Since its founding in 2006, RICKI has conducted more than 75 studies in the kitchen and bath industry.