NKBA reveals top kitchen and bathroom trends

topic of the articles

A few recent surveys polled various groups working in the kitchen and bathroom trades for their thoughts and trends and the state of the industry.

The NKBA’s 2021 Kitchen & Bath Market Outlook provides a comprehensive review of current kitchen and bath industry conditions and the macroeconomic factors that are expected to impact the industry in 2021.

Key findings include:

  • Residential kitchen and bath remodeling spend is poised for growth in 2021, based on a mix-shift to bigger, more expensive and PRO-heavy interior remodels.
  • Pent-up demand for more PRO-intensive projects is a tailwind for spending growth in 2021.
  • New construction spending is to benefit from the timing of starts in 2020 anticipated to dollarize in 2021.
  • Strong housing starts in the latter half of 2020 and longer build times to favorably impact new construction spending in 2021.
  • Total residential kitchen and bath spending is to increase 16.6 per cent in 2021, from $136 billion to $158.6 billion. This is driven by a 9.9- per-cent increase in kitchen and bath remodeling spending and a 22.3- per-cent increase in kitchen and bath new construction spending.
  • Of the total $158.6 billion in total residential kitchen and bath spending, $68.6 billion represents residential remodeling spending (43 per cent) and $90 billion residential new construction (57 per cent). This represents a two-percentage point mix-shift away from residential remodeling towards new construction spending, driven by faster growth in new construction.
  • The overall dollar spend allocation between residential kitchen spending (48 per cent) and residential bathroom spending (52 per cent) in 2021 is unchanged compared to the 2020 period.

Homeowners indicate the kitchen and bathroom rank two times more important compared to other parts of the home. The pandemic has reinforced this perception, as the kitchen slightly gained status since the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, budgets for kitchen remodels fell faster than all other areas of home improvement, which is a unique backdrop for faster growth in 2021, when the health-risks associated with a PRO inside the home are diminished.

Acceleration in activity

One key learning from the study is that kitchen remodels lead to future bathroom remodels, supporting an acceleration in bathroom remodeling activity. In addition, growth in cabinets, drives more widespread spending to other parts of the kitchen: Product attachment cascades from cabinets to the remodeling of other parts of the kitchen. As COVID-19 behavior diminishes, reverting wallet share to services consumption is not likely to hurt kitchen and bath; desire to save (given economic uncertainty) and health risks are the most influential motivations; higher household precautionary savings is a potential source of financing for an anticipated rebound in 2021 kitchen and bath spending. These factors support a pronounced rebound in overall industry growth, from -5.9 per cent in 2020 to 16.6 per cent in 2021.

Consistent with mix-shift away from less expensive remodels (pent-up COVID-19 related demand), the high price-point for residential kitchen and bath spending is anticipated to lead growth (19.8 per cent), followed by the mid-price point (18.5 per cent), with the low-price point posting strong, but lower rates of growth (9.7 per cent).


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