Volume sales of large cooking appliances have declined moderately over 2020 as a whole, adversely affected by key store closures along with sales of other major appliances. While all categories of large cooking appliances have decreased, built-in models such as those in cooker hoods have tended to perform a bit better than their freestanding counterparts thanks to the rising emphasis on decor in residences.
Fierce competition continues to be seen among the top five players in large cooking appliances – Candy, BSH, Brandt, Electrolux and Whirlpool – with Candy coming out on top in 2020, having overtaken BSH in the category in 2019. All the players are placing a great emphasis on innovation, including a focus on new launches of connected ovens, with ovens still recording volume growth prior to the pandemic.
With the high penetration rates of built-in hobs in French households, much of the demand for large cooking appliances comes from replacement purchases. Although French kitchens are increasingly being equipped with ovens and range cookers, trade experts feel that such purchases are not a priority for householders, who are instead more likely to invest in other appliances before upgrading or buying a third or fourth large cooking appliance.
Among more affluent consumers, kitchen specialists could see increasing interest as the French spend more time at home with COVID-19 still being a threat, cooking more often and thinking more about what to change in their kitchen, perhaps investing more in large cooking appliances. On the other hand, based on a trade interview with Whirlpool, increasingly retailers such as Boulanger have kitchen corners in their stores, and economic uncertainties arising from the pandemic could benefit lower-priced products.
Ovens is set to register further growth, mainly driven by the healthy living and cooking trends, which are seeing consumers increasingly demanding steam functions, as well as advanced technology, ie connected ovens. The category sees regular launches with such features, which helps to maintain growth – in addition to steam cooking functions, which are widespread on ovens, a new generation of connected ovens with voice assistance is being seen.
In order to remain competitive and gain share, manufacturers need to keep pace with developments in consumer food trends – knowledge of and adaptation to local preferences and tastes may become unique differentiating advantages in a highly competitive and mature category. Some key traits and developments that French households are expected to apply to their food consumption patterns are: fast casual at home, I made it myself, conviviality and social gatherings around food, fresh, naturalness and healthy, online ordering and viewing recipes, personalisation, practicality and ease, and safety and transparency.
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