After many years of slow but consistent retail volume decline, small cooking appliances returned to growth in 2020. This was mainly due to the COVID-19 virus, which led people to spend more time at home, with more time available to cook.
Despite more time spent at home, and despite the strong healthy living trend in Japan, which was only accelerated by the emergence of COVID-19, small cooking appliances with a health-orientated positioning, such as light fryers and electric steamers, failed to achieve growth in 2020. This was largely due to the limited space available in Japanese kitchens, and the competition from other kitchen appliances.
Zojirushi maintained its lead in small cooking appliances in retail volume terms in 2020, offering products across various categories. The company also managed to see a slight share increase in this year, partly due to the introduction of the STAN series in 2019, which provides a uniform design across various product categories, including rice cookers, coffee machines, kettles and electric grills.
In late 2020, De’Longhi started MIO! De’Longhi, a subscription service for an espresso machine along with monthly/bi-monthly supplies of coffee beans. The service attracted many more consumers than the company expected, and it stopped registration in just a week.
The retail volume growth in small cooking appliances seen in 2020 is set to be short-lived, with a return to decline expected in 2021 and for the rest of the forecast period, returning to the trend seen in the review period. The growth in 2020 was related to the home seclusion period due to COVID-19, and with better control of the virus and the rollout of a vaccine, this is not expected to be repeated in 2021.
Continuing the trend seen in 2020, light fryers and electric steamers are set to see the strongest retail volume declines in the forecast period, with double-digit declines from an already low base. Their functions can be replaced by microwaves, which most consumers already own, hampering growth.
However, the temporary rise in sales of small cooking appliances such as breadmakers, mini ovens, toasters and electric grills, and the popularity that De’Longhi’s espresso machine and coffee beans subscription has gained, indicate that there is still growth potential for the right products. There is more that cooking appliances could do to create value for consumers and attract those who are not fully satisfied with the small cooking appliances they already have.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Small Cooking Appliances industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Small Cooking Appliances research and analysis database.
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