However, Camp says her clients are asking her about induction without her bringing it up to them. “Now clients are asking us about it. Induction is starting to go mainstream. It’s being touted as more energy-efficient and easier to clean—and these are buzzwords people are interested in,” she adds.
The level of consumer induction knowledge may depend on the market, Camp says. “Almost four years ago I moved from San Francisco to North Carolina. San Francisco is a gas market. Here in North Carolina, it’s an electric market; people are looking for alternatives within electric fuel.”
Cookware companies may be somewhat responsible for the level of consumer induction knowledge. “There are cookware companies that are putting a symbol on the cookware that says it’s induction friendly. If it’s difficult to work with or sounds like it will be difficult to work with, it scares people,” Benkowski says. “Once you see pots and pans in stores that have the induction symbol on them or marketing them as induction friendly, it will [change induction cooktops’ demand].”
Although induction has many benefits, designers must understand how their clients use their cooktops before directing them to choose induction. With increased price points as induction’s biggest drawback, consumers will only invest in a cooktop that meets their lifestyle.
“Find out how your consumer uses the cooktop. How do they cook? Once you ask those questions you can find out what cooktop is best going to fit the individual. What level chef do they consider themselves to be?” asks John Petrie, CMKBD, vice president of the Hackettstown, N.J.-based National Kitchen and Bath Association and owner of Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry.
Benkowski adds the ideal induction consumer will most likely be someone who is a serious cook.
Although designers agree induction will grow in consumer demand, they add product offerings may change. “I think there is a place for this technology and I do think this is going to be something that will further the idea or use of more than one type of cooking,” Benkowski says. “The idea of using multiple heat sources is going to be more prevalent. We are seeing that now as some manufacturers are selling a single 15-inch induction burner.”
NKBA and AHAM are in agreement induction offerings and consumer demand is going to continue to grow. They point to current products already on the market, as well as shipment data growth throughout the past few years.
“I think it’s here to stay. Appliance manufacturers have it now and housewares companies are coming out with induction-ready products and identifying them as such,” Petrie adds.