Appliance Sales Fueled By “Kitchen Jewelry”

From Ubercool.com:

In 2003, manufacturers shipped a record 73.7 million appliances to distribution centers and retail outlets, up 8.4% over 2002, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). In each of the past three years, AHAM has logged increases of at least 4.2% in shipments that include the six major household appliances: dishwashers, freezers, ranges, refrigerators, washers and dryers. For 2005, the association predicted growth of slightly less than 2%.

The LG Tromm SteamWasher (US$1500; shipping Q2) relies on steam to remove wrinkles and odors from clothing without using water or detergent. The steam cycle reduces dry cleaning trips and makes ironing boards virtually obsolete. It can even be used to refresh clothes between washes.

U.S. consumers bought more than US$5 billion in cooking appliances in 2004, not counting sales directly to builders, reports Stevenson Co. That’s up from US$4.9 billion in 2003. Sales growth is being driven by “kitchen jewelry” — stylish, luxury appliances products with expensive finishes. While high-end goods are estimated account for less than 10% of the U.S. appliance market, sales are picking up, says Home Furnishings News.

“Super prime” appliance sales, like a Wolf dual-fuel range that can set you back as much as US$10,000, have grown by more than 30% annually for the past few years, reports Home Furnishings News.

While upscale appliance sales are also driven by Food Network TV shows and the entrée of companies like GE and Kenmore into the high-end market, consumers are ironically just too busy to cook. Last year, 50% of dinner meals were made using stove tops. down from 58% in 1994, according to The NPD Group.

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