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Small Appliance Sales Rise This Holiday Season

The aroma of fresh-baked cookies and home-made bread are traditional signs of the holiday season. Perhaps, that’s why cookbook sales are going through the roof. Overall sales are up 15 percent since September—with bread cookbooks up 145 percent for the year. It’s no surprise that people are spending more time in the kitchen during the pandemic. Preparing food is a way for both new and seasoned cooks to be creative, reduce stress, and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. With the right small appliances, they are confident there’s no recipe they can’t conquer.

Sheltering at home has disrupted our routines and eating patterns and increased the demand for portable kitchen appliances that complement many lifestyles. This year, small appliances will be at the top of many gift lists. At the beginning of the pandemic, most people were conscious of their diets, and healthy eating was a priority.

However, as the months dragged on, there was a shift to eating comfort food with no end to the pandemic in sight. Gifting the latest appliances to family and friends can be fun and practical. Depending on the selection, it can take gift-giving to the next level by splurging on items the recipient wants but are hesitant to purchase for themselves.

“Many people found more time to cook when pandemic mediation efforts began, which led to more experimentation and increasingly complex meals, said Kristy McLean, books industry analyst for NPD. “Baking offered a comforting escape, and yeast suddenly became more difficult to find than toilet paper. Sales of bread cookbooks are still well above 2019 levels, and given the pandemic is still with us, the bread-baking trend could be sticking around for a while.”

The NPD growth predicts a 16 percent growth in small appliances and a 13 percent growth in non-electric housewares this season. In NPD’s Future of Home Report, this growth can be attributed to the increased amount of time we spend at home and the “new normal” in which we live. It is driven by three elements that are the result of the current situation.

“There are three levers for growth that can be engaged during the holiday season: gifting, special occasions, and daily living,” says Joe Derochowski. Home industry Advisor at NPD. “In addition to simplifying everyday tasks, the home industry has an opportunity to help the consumer elevate this year’s holiday meals and celebrations in spite of today’s limitations, and create an in-home experience that goes beyond the ‘everyday.”

Everything is taking place at home. With the vast majority of people working or learning from home, the quality of food eaten, and a comfortable environment drives the types of appliances consumers purchase.

  • Breakfast: single-serve coffee makers, espresso machines, and smoothie makers
  • Lunch: toaster oven
  • Dinner: electric grills, air fryers. Cookware, and food storage
  • Snacks: bakeware, cooling racks, kitchen scales, popcorn machines
  • Beverage: home soda machines

Creating and Sustaining Connections. By nature, humans are social beings. We enjoy gathering together and being in each other’s presence. However, due to social distancing and stay-at-home mandates, people have found creative ways to stay connected.

  • Virtual happy hours, and home-made cocktails
  • Baking with the family
  • Socially distanced backyard, or garage get-togethers

Practical, and enjoyable. Although consumers want to purchase functional appliances, they also want their gifts to be fun, exciting, and innovative. This moves gift-giving to the next level and takes into account the recipient’s personality. Purchases that solve problems are welcomed gifts that can help people deal with forgoing the daily trips to the coffee shop or local bakery. Automated cappuccino makers and donut-making machines are little indulgences people would appreciate.

“This year, the holidays will be as much, if not more, about the time we spend at home than the time we spend with others,” said Derochowski. “In preparation for the holidays and colder weather across many regions of the country, consumers will be looking to give and get products that both facilitate and enhance their altered celebrations and increased in-home activities.”

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