Aside from a dip in performance in 2011, the market for replacement kitchen doors has shown solid growth since 2008, with average growth on an annual basis around 4-5%. This is significantly higher than for the kitchen market as a whole, mainly the result of consumer confidence being eroded as a result of the decline in the UK economy, encouraging consumers to look for cheaper alternatives. While the replacement door market has benefited from the cutback in consumer expenditure, it has perhaps not been to the extent suppliers had hoped for, and the market remains small compared with the kitchen market.
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, rather than the traditional straight line concept. 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.
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 environment, such as televisions and coffee machines, are increasing in popularity.
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. 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 market expected to show steady growth in the future. The sale of kitchens with installation included is also likely to continue to increase.