With the growing demand for customization, it should come as no surprise that the “specialty appliance” category is enormous and diverse, with products found anywhere from the kitchen to the living room to the master bath to the great outdoors.
Whether it’s a warming drawer in the bath to house towels, a built-in coffee maker in the master bedroom suite or a wine cooler in the den, specialty appliances are both luxurious and flexible – making them the perfect update for virtually any room in the home. Additionally, the trends toward convenience and healthy living continue to impact these products as homeowners look to personalize their spaces with products that reflect how they live.
“Specialty appliances enable homeowners to customize and enjoy their home to the fullest, especially as more homeowners choose to stay in and recreate a gourmet dining experience from home,” says Marni Hale, spokesperson for BSH Home Appliances Corp. based in Huntington Beach, CA.
“Consumers and designers want to place their own unique touch on their kitchen projects – the special area where their individualism shows. As more homeowners are staying put, they are renovating to make their spaces work for their specific needs, while simultaneously enhancing resale value,” agrees George Tjoumakaris, communications specialist for Miele in Princeton, NJ.
Patricio Barriga, president of Lyndhurst, NJ-based Fagor America adds that entertainment is becoming an increasingly important element in the home. “We make kitchens much more user friendly toward entertainment as a whole,” he says, noting that there is an opportunity for unique cooking spaces that cater toward new technologies and combinations of these technologies.
PERFORMANCE & FLEXIBILITY
While design is always important, first and foremost, specialty appliances must meet specific functional needs in order to sustain their initial appeal.
Flexibility and convenience are important performance aspects that affect trends in appliances. “The specialty appliance category remains strong because consumer demand for flexible products continues to grow,” says Hale.
She notes the Tassimo by Bosch exemplifies this trend. “Tassimo’s fully automatic operation allows consumers to brew premium coffee house quality beverages with the simple push of a button…without the usual hassle and mess of traditional coffee makers,” explains Hale.
Ease of use is also critical, according to Tjoumakaris. “When you are operating something new, something unique, it should be easy, intuitive to operate and easy to maintain,” he notes, explaining that Miele appliances – such as the steam and speed ovens – come with MasterChef controls that are easy to understand and food driven. “You press the type of food and within a few touches, you are on your way to perfect results.”
Appliances that multi-task are also in demand, says Tjoumakaris. He cites speed ovens as an example, or products including microwave, convection oven and/or a combination speed oven. These appliances save space and multiple appliance purchases, Tjoumakaris adds.
New technology, too, continues to drive appliance trends. For instance, the rise in the induction cooktop has transformed how people cook. Diva de Provence, based in Toronto, ON, Canada was the first to re-launch the technology in the U.S. in late 2002, according to president Thierry d’Anthenay. The product had been introduced in the U.S. in the 1980s with less than successful results due to unreliable technology at the time, making its reintroduction very difficult, d’Anthenay says. However, now many manufacturers are offering induction products and d’Anthenay expects the popularity of the induction technology to continue to grow.