Monday, January 14, 2013

Kettle sales off the boil in British kitchens

LONDON (Reuters) - Sales of kettles have dropped off in traditionally tea-mad Britain despite a rise in sales for small kitchen appliances, new retail research showed.

Putting a kettle on for a "cuppa" has been a standard stereotype of Britons since long before the electric kitchen appliance appeared. But sales have fallen in favour of other devices, such as coffeemakers and built-in hot water taps, a new report from global research firm Mintel showed.

"Penetration of kettles have declined by almost 5 percentage points since 2008," Mintel Head of Retail Research Neil Mason said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Monday.

"To some degree this reflects competition from other appliances such as hot water taps and one-cup boilers, but also the fact that hot drinks are falling out of favour with many younger consumers, and that some households simply make do using their main cooking appliances."

Volume sales of kettles have declined by seven percent from 8,106 000 units in 2007 to 7,545 000 units in 2012.

In 2008, 14.8 percent of the population purchased kettles. By 2012 the number had declined to 12.8 percent. Overall ownership has dropped from 83.3 percent of the population in 2008 to 78.8 percent of the population in 2012.

By contrast, sales of small kitchen appliances overall in 2012 bounced back from a slight 2011 downturn with some vigour, rising five percent on 2011 levels, Mintel said.

Growth has been driven primarily by hot beverage makers and food preparation products, the result of a rising interest in high-end brands which deliver professional results at a time when consumers are spending more time in the home and trading up on their in-home dining and entertaining.

Mintel said the in-home food market experienced growth of 44 percent over the last decade, compared to the eating-out market which rose by just four percent over the same period and actually contracted in 2009 during the year after the current financial downturn began in earnest.

But don't expect that trend to continue.

The proportion of consumers who say that they enjoy entertaining at home is on the decline, having fallen from 54 percent in 2008 to 49.4 percent in 2012, Mintel said.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; editing by Patricia Reaney)


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