Homebound Chefs Igniting A Return To Cookware Sets

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, as more people spent time indoors, they also spent more time in their kitchens. This spurred the consistent use of cookware as consumers created more meals at home as well as experimented with different recipes— and ignited a return to the purchase of cookware sets.

“We have seen a strong increase in cookware set sales during the quarantine. It really appears that as many people began to embrace cooking and have gained more interest in cooking, they have had a renewed desire for quality cookware,” said Bobby Griggs, vp/Heritage Steel.

Pamela Stafford, director at Hestan Culinary, said the company has seen about three times an overall lift in sales through May versus all of 2019, noting that the 10-piece sets have been selling well. While some consumers may have looked into purchasing one or two pieces, a set allows for monetary savings while also allowing them to fully upgrade their kitchen. Stafford also said that new technology is appealing to consumers.

“Buying a set is a practical investment, especially for consumers who want to upgrade, since the savings can be 15% to 40% more compared to purchasing open stock items. Many consumers now are realizing that their old cookware, often times purchased 10 or more years ago, isn’t performing for them, and they want new technology to solve pain points,” she said.

David Nicklin, svp/marketing and licensing, Gibson, noted that as consumers have spent more time at home, they are also turning to cookware to freshen up the look of the kitchen as well as making a more utilitarian purchase.

“We’ve seen the Crock-Pot Artisan Collection that offers individually packaged enameled cast iron sauté pans, skillets, braisers and Dutch ovens experience strong sales on Amazon, higher than we’ve ever seen them, actually. The collection offers all of the above in vibrant and trendy color options,” he said.

Jeff Malkasian, president of retail brands for Clipper Corp., explained that he has seen e-commerce boost sales of cookware sets, as consumers were mostly browsing and shopping online or purchasing online for curbside pick-up during the pandemic. He noted that through these channels, consumers end up looking for different configurations of sets based on their search criteria.

“I think e-commerce will continue to grow in market share as a result of the pandemic, but as stores open and customers can visually see and touch the variety of products in a store, it will give them the ability to buy the pieces they need in more of a mix and match way,” he said.

Thomas West, director of e-commerce at Bradshaw Home, also noted a spike in specialty cookware, as well as 10- and 12-piece cookware sets. He said items like pasta pots are selling more than double last year’s numbers, as well as sauté pans of all sizes.

And, said vendors, while the pandemic lit the spark for the sale of cookware sets, many believe this purchasing trend will stay steady for the next several months.

“We’re very positive about the coming months, given that people are continuing to work from home and preparing every meal— breakfast, lunch and dinner— as part of their new daily routine. They’re also either discovering or re-discovering the joys of cooking, which are multi-faceted,” Stafford said.

But West predicts there will eventually be a reduction in sales as life begins to ease back, even though consumers have become more comfortable spending time in the kitchen.

“I believe we will continue to see this trend, but with fluctuation. People have developed new habits, hobbies and skills by getting back into kitchen. We will see sales slow as things start to open up again, but ultimately flatten out to higher than pre-pandemic time,” he said.

For more on cookware sets, see the June 17, 2020, issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS.