Year In Review 2020: Homebound Lifestyles Energized Small Electrics Sales

The kitchen electrics business saw soaring retail sales this year boosted by pandemic-fueled homebound lifestyles that are expected to continue into 2021 and endure well beyond that.

Many suppliers predict record-breaking fourth quarter sales from kitchen electrics, particularly in such categories as air fryers, countertop ovens, coffee and espresso machines, multi-functional appliances, healthy cooking and beverage electrics and products that serve the cooking-as-entertainment trend, including popcorn poppers, waffle irons and treat makers.

HomeWorld Business 2020_Year_In_Review

Trends

  • Kitchen electric staples— including breadmakers and waffle makers— took off again as families rediscovered the virtues of home baking and gathering for breakfast.
  • Already surging home coffee brewing received an extra jolt during the pandemic, intensifying percolating craft brewing trends that drove specialty pour-over brewers, upgraded single-cup solutions, premium espresso centers, grinders and a new generation of home coffee roasters.
  • The wellness-inspired move toward specialty tea, meanwhile, lifted electric kettles to sales levels previously unseen in the U.S. market.
  • Healthier lifestyles and a new desire to experiment with fun and interesting beverages at home renewed the retail sales growth of juicers, blenders and home carbonators.
  • Moving out of the shadow of steep multi-cooker growth, rice cookers, a strong niche business for several years, saw a dramatic spike in sales through e-commerce and at mass market stores open during the coronavirus lockdowns.
  • Sous vide countertop appliances and immersion circulators, which have gradually gained mainstream housewares attention in recent years, received a strong boost from homebound consumers experimenting with new cooking methods, techniques and tools.
  • With consumers embracing wireless convenience throughout the home, a new generation of cordless, rechargeable kitchen electrics included hand blenders, hand mixers and mini choppers from such brands as KitchenAid and Cuisinart.

Moving & Shaking

  • DeLonghi reached a definitive agreement with affiliates of Centre Lane Partners to acquire Nutribullet and Magic Bullet developer and marketer Capital Brands Holdings, Inc. for about $420 million.
  • Groupe SEB acquired a majority stake in StoreBound, which owns the Dash brand of kitchen electrics and develops home products under brands including Dash, Sobro, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and others.
  • Smart kitchen platform Drop has gained $13.3 million in Series A funding co-led by Alpha Edison and Morpheus Ventures with participation from Act Venture Capital. The company has partnered with appliance makers like Instant Brands, Kenwood, Electrolux and Panasonic.
  • Breville Group acquired Bellevue WA-based Baratza, a manufacturer of coffee grinders, for approximately $60 million.
  • Newell Brands appointed Christine (Chris) Robins, formerly chief executive at Char-Broil, as the business unit CEO for appliances and cookware.
  • Corelle Brands, manufacturer of kitchenware brands such as Pyrex, Instant Pot, Corelle, and SnapWare, appointed Ben Gadbois, formerly COO of Spin Master and a 13-year Newell veteran, president and CEO, succeeding retiring Kenneth Wilkes.
  • Wine appliance company Plum Inc. has named Michael Traub CEO. Founder and current CEO David Koretz will continue to serve as chairman of the board and move to the newly created chief product officer role.
  • Jura named Richard Boynton, president, to the new position of CEO and chairman. Tom McMahon, previously vp/sales, was named president; and David Shull, previously svp/sales and marketing, was named  evp/marketing and communications. Michael Loughnane joined Jura as vp/sales.
  • Made by Gather, marketer of Bella, Brim Coffee, Crux and CRUXGG small appliances and housewares, named housewares retailing veteran Shawn Austin president.

Product Pipeline

  • On the heels of the U.S. debut of its coffee, Tchibo, a leading European coffeehouse, has released The Tchibo single-serve coffeemaker for the introductory price of $349.
  • Keurig introduced the K-Supreme single-serve coffeemaker, the first series of Keurig brewers to feature MultiStream technology, which more evenly saturates the coffee grounds in every K-Cup pod.
  • South Korean small appliance manufacturer Cuckoo Electronics entered the American market for kitchen electrics and home environment appliances.
  • Haier’s GE Appliances reentered small appliances across its GE, GE Profile and Cafe brands with 19 new products.
  • Cuisinart introduced the CompleteChef, an all-in-one food processor cooker.
  • Made by Gather, formerly Sensio, teamed its Crux kitchen electrics brand with Ghetto Gastro, a Bronx, NY-born culinary collective, to launch with Williams Sonoma an exclusive collaboration of boldly designed, premium small appliances positioned along a theme of advancing social justice through food.
  • Kalorik celebrated 90 years of business with a limited edition, artist-designed air fryer. Graphic artist Luiza Lafitte worked closely with influencers to develop four designs.
  • Spectrum Brands marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of the George Foreman grill with the new George Foreman Smokeless Grill Series.
  • Instant Brands, makers of the Instant Pot multicooker, introduced Instant Pod, a 2-in-1 coffee and espresso maker.
  • Jura introduced the Jura ENA 8 Massive Aluminum Signature Line, said to be the first automatic specialty coffee machine with solid 3-millimeter-thick aluminum housing. Jura also announced a five-year extension of its partnership with Roger Federer, Jura brand ambassador since 2006.
  • Japanese design and appliance brand Balmuda entered the U.S. market with a toaster and a kettle.
  • Zojirushi’s first licensed collaboration, with global lifestyle brand Sanrio, launched Hello Kitty rice cookers and stainless steel mugs.
  • Hiroia, a joint venture between Hario, a Japanese manual coffee brewer manufacturer and Proch, a Taiwanese manufacturer, introduced the smart-enabled Samantha automatic pour over brewer in the U.S.
  • Revolution Cooking debuted with a high-speed 2-slice smart toaster.
  • Newcomer Blix released the Blix Smart Food Maker, an appliance system that combines blending cups and RFID tags to prepare soups, sauces, spreads and smoothies from prepackaged, customizable ingredients.
  • Chefman launched a new sister smart home appliance company, Chef iQ, highlighting a smart pressure cooker/multi cooker paired with a connected app.
  • Zwilling expanded into small electrics with the Enfinigy line, initially available exclusively at Williams Sonoma. The assortment includes a two-slice toaster, blender, personal blender and electric tea kettle with temperature control.