Appliances Seen Driving Many Kitchen Remodels: Report

PORT WASHINGTON, NY — Many kitchen remodeling projects, contrary to popular wisdom, are unscheduled and are fueled largely by the unanticipated need for a new major kitchen appliance.

That’s among the key conclusions of a newly released report from a leading consumer and business research firm that surveyed homeowners on their remodeling plans, design preferences and motivations.

The report – entitled The Kitchen Remodel: A Consumer Perspective – was released last month by The NPD Group, a Port Washington, NY-based research firm that conducts research in a wide range of industries. The report’s findings are based on information gleaned from an online survey conducted by NPD in early June. Two groups of 5,000 online panelists were polled.

According to NPD, the survey revealed that one out of 10 home-owners remodeled their kitchens in some form or fashion during the past 12 months, while one in 20 households plan to undertake a remodeling project within the next 12 months.

The report concludes that the average homeowner spent $8,100 to remodel. However, it points out “that the term ‘remodel’ means many things to many people.”

“There are homeowners who spend $500, and those who spend $100,000 – yet both consider what they did to be a ‘remodel,’” NPD noted, adding that researchers identified five consumer segments of remodeling, ranging from a minor “clean-up” to a major remodel. Each segment had corresponding spending levels. For example, price tags ranged from $1,000 for a clean-up, to $28,800 for a major remodel.

The NPD report also suggested that the need for a major kitchen appliance is often the impetus behind a kitchen remodeling project. The report noted, in fact, that new appliances drive more than one-third of kitchen remodels.

“The data suggests that the purchase of major appliances is a key driver behind the remodeling decision,” observes Peter Greene, president of NPD Houseworld, a division of The NPD Group. “So, when a major appliance breaks unexpectedly, it may inspire a homeowner who’s already thinking about replacing a worn-out kitchen to get started on a remodel.”

The NPD study revealed, in addition, that most kitchens being remodeled are at least 12 to 14 years old. Regardless of the type and cost of the remodel, most projects included flooring, a major appliance, sinks/faucets and countertops.

“The differences among the segments were generally in the costs of the replacements and in how many changes were made to the existing kitchen,” the report indicated.

Other key conclusions of the online survey were as follows:

  • While kitchen remodels average more than $8,000, nearly four in 10 respondents paid for the remodeling project out of household savings. Home equity loans were only cited in 10% of cases.
  • The average age of kitchen remodelers is 44+, and those with household incomes $60,000-$74,000 (22% of all surveyed respondents) were significantly more likely to have improvement plans within 12 months.
  • Homeowners who tend to remodel their kitchens are more likely than the average U.S. population to report eating at home “more often.”
  • A remodeled kitchen is generally 12 to 14 years old. Having children under the age of 18 in the house tends to drive these households to expand kitchen square footage.
  • Most kitchen expansions come at the expense of another room – typically the dining room.
  • Televisions and computers are more likely than ever to be added to a remodeled kitchen.
  • Natural stone tied laminate counters for top countertop material. Together, they accounted for nearly half of all counters among surveyed homeowners.
  • Oak and maple were the most common cabinet materials, comprising more than half of all cabinet selections.

Editor’s Note: The Kitchen Remodel: A Consumer Perspective is available from The NPD Group. For additional information, or to purchase a copy of the report, contact John Block at (516) 625-4610.