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NPD: Small Appliances Lead Housewares Growth In 2013

The NPD Group has reported that U.S. sales of home-related products, including small appliances, non-electric housewares and home fashion, reached $46 billion in 2013, a 3% increase over 2012. According to the global information company, the majority of the growth was seen in the small electrics category.

“Consumers are spending more on their homes, from adding items to spruce up the appearance to upgrading with better quality, performance or convenience in mind,” said Debra Mednick, executive director, home industry analyst for the NPD Group.

All three major segments within the small appliance industry experienced dollar growth in 2013. Blender/mixer/chopper systems, specialty stylers, juice extractors, espresso makers, and bare floor cleaners are among the strongest performing categories. Increases in the average price paid for products played an important role in the growth of both small kitchen (up 5%) and personal care appliances (up 4%). Online is also playing an important role in this industry; while in-store sales of small appliances grew slightly (up 1%), and still account for the lion’s share of industry dollars (72%), online sales grew an impressive 20%, now representing 20% of total dollars.

“The small appliance trade-up trend continues. Consumers are willing to pay more for the effective do-it-yourself solutions, simple pleasures, added convenience and better quality benefits that new and innovative product offerings are delivering,” said Mednick.

The star of non-electric housewares products in 2013 was cookware, which saw sales increase 3% to $2.1 billion (37% of the total market). However, the tabletop spotlight was on dinnerware, as the average spend has increased over last two years. Overall, online sales brought in 17% of non-electric housewares dollars in 2013, and grew 16% from the previous year.

“Infomercials and celebrity chefs are touting the benefits of cast iron and non-toxic cookware, addressing the healthy and easy-to-clean sweet spots that many consumers are seeking,” said Mednick. “The small appliance trade-up story extends to dinnerware, as consumers are gravitating toward quality casual options in more expensive materials.”

Home fashions and textiles sales were driven by the bed segment, growing 2% compared with 2012, and accounting for almost 60% of industry dollars. With the exception of the kitchen & dining segment, it wasn’t the average home fashions spend that increased in 2013, but rather the number of items purchased. There was a noticeable shift in channel share as online sales grew a dramatic 24% at the expense of brick and mortar retailers, which experienced a sales decline. Despite the increase, online sales of home fashions were just 14% of total dollars in 2013.

“As more alternative, flash site type sellers expand their presence in home fashions, I expect online to continue its upward trajectory. However, with the current focus on accessorizing and the absence of newness, the overall industry is likely to expand just modestly,” said Mednick. “Whether it is new, innovative, or touches on some other sweet spot, communicating the end benefit to the consumer is more important than ever before in the home products industry.”