The market for replacement kitchen doors has shown solid growth since 2008, with average annual growth of around 4-5%.
This is significantly higher than for the kitchen market as a whole, and was mainly the result of consumer confidence being eroded due to the recession, encouraging consumers to look for cheaper alternatives.
Compared with re-installing the whole kitchen, replacement kitchen doors and drawer fronts are much less costly, depending on the type of door selected, and replacing the doors is also less wasteful, with no additional installation or plumbing costs needed. However, while the replacement door market has benefited from the cutback in consumer expenditure, it has not been to the extent suppliers had hoped for, and the market remains small.
The kitchen furniture market is at the mature stage of its product lifecycle, with replacement sales currently accounting for more than three quarters of sales. Consumer awareness is high and purchasing decisions tend to be based on design, colour and materials. Features such as soft-closing drawers or handle-less doors, sophisticated lighting and additional electrical appliances in the kitchen are increasing in popularity.
Key issues that have influenced the UK domestic kitchen furniture market in recent years include a blurring of distinction between the kitchen and dining room, with less formality in the home and a move towards open plan living, and an emphasis on aesthetics and stylish designs, with a move towards curved lines. An increasing number of manufacturers are offering units to suit the needs of elderly or infirm customers and this trend is likely to continue as the proportion of the UK population in older age groups increases.
Suppliers that specialise in the kitchen door sector tend to be vertically integrated and involved in the manufacture, marketing and installation of replacement kitchen doors, drawer fronts and often worktops, appliances and other accessories. In terms of distribution structure, the Internet or mail order now accounts for the largest share of the market, followed closely by manufacturers and installers. Other retailers such as IKEA and DIY outlets account for 15%, though the increase in sale of kitchens that include installation is likely to continue.
The total market for replacement kitchen doors is expected to show significant, but reducing growth in the period to 2019. In the short term margins are likely to be squeezed further by the increasing cost of raw materials, although increasing use of e-commerce has enabled door manufacturers to absorb some of these cost increases generally. Despite the value for money and the reduced waste that replacement installation offers, the market could see a decline as the economy improves and consumers spend more money on sustainable design and products, which could lead to kitchens lasting longer and needing to be replaced less frequently.
Keith Taylor, director of AMA research, said: “The rate of growth in the replacement market is expected to decline as the economy improves, assuming no major changes in the market structure, such as a major company in the fitted kitchen furniture sector entering the replacement sector.
“This seems unlikely at the moment, with the mainstream kitchen furniture market expected to show steady growth in the short to medium term future.”