Sizing Up The Gourmet Housewares Market: Part 1

The annual Gourmet Insider State of the Industry serves up results of an exclusive national survey of independent kitchenware retailers to provide benchmarks against which storeowners can measure their performance.

Conclusions of the 2015 Gourmet Insider State of the Industry are being presented digitally for the first time at as part of a four-part series.

This week’s installment examines Gadgets & Kitchen Tools and Cutlery.

Gadgets & Kitchen Tools

Tools and gadgets remain a staple of the neighborhood kitchen store. Offering a wide range of pricepoints, many of which fall in to a relatively approachable or impulse scope, and fast turnover rates, the kitchen tools and gadgets category again proved to be a top performer for a majority of this year’s State of the Industry survey takers. According to the survey results, the category ranks highest in both allocated space on the selling floor (63% of respondents said so), and in contribution to gross sales (61%).

With merchandising options aplenty— from countertop displays to peggable packaging— gourmet store owners have the advantage of creating add-on sales opportunities for the category, for example, placing fruit tools next to colanders or rolling pins next to bakeware. Additionally, the category appeals to and can serve the needs for both novice home cooks and culinary experts. As a result, kitchen tools and gadgets pulled in an estimated $57.9 million in sales at the gourmet kitchen store channel this year.

For the Millennial consumer, the most popular kitchen gadgets are standard cooking utensils, such as spoons and turners. The survey also found that stainless steel is the material that most young consumers look for with more than half of respondents noting that it would be their top choice for their next tool/gadget purchase.


Based on the responses from this year’s State of the Industry Survey, cutlery remains a productive category that brings in strong sales while taking up minimal space on the selling floor. This year, some retailers in the survey said space allocation for cutlery has expanded a bit over last year, pointing to new pricepoint, color, style and material options that have expanded the market. For many serious home cooks or chefs, the cutlery case becomes a destination in the kitchen store. Accessories from sharpeners to cutting boards also aide sales in the category.

Gourmet insiders noted that in-store demonstrations and skill classes are key to getting higher quality knives in the hands of consumers, and ultimately closing a sale. For those stores with cooking schools, knife skills tops the list of popular classes. While many consumers are looking that top quality knife, a growing number of consumers are also gravitating toward colored or patterned novelty blades at more approachable pricepoints.

According to the HomeWorld Business® Forecast Consumer Survey, Millennial consumers said that the cutlery they would most likely buy in the next 12 months is the bread knife, with 50.8% of survey respondents choosing this style knife. For 49.9% of responses, a steak knife set came in second and a sandwich/utility knife came in third with 42.2%.

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