As consumers’ interests for integrated appliances grow, integrated stoves come into view with functions that includes a hood, a gas stove, an oven, a disinfecting cabinet and a storage cabinet, making a highlight amid the softening kitchen appliance market in 2018.
Integrated stoves grow to be a new highlight of kitchen appliances
Kitchen appliance market reached a size of 36.9 billion Yuan from January to May 2018, down by 4.2% year-on-year, of which hoods posted 16.44 billion Yuan, down by 7.0% year-on-year, gas ranges 9.61 billion Yuan, down by 4.4% year-on-year, and disinfecting cabinets 2.2 billion Yuan, down by 15.1% year-on-year, according to China Market Monitor. Amid the overall falls, integrated stoves stood out with skyrocketing growth. The product saw total sales volume of 1.5 million units and sales exceeding ten billion Yuan in 2017, while for the first half of this year, posted retail sales volume of 0.155 million units and value of 0.95 billion at online channels alone, up by 97.7% and 138.3% year-on-year respectively. However, this category only accounts for a small share of the kitchen appliance market though it has great potential untapped.
According to a dealer of Meida, an integrated stove maker, the industry is entering into a reshuffle with more than 100 brands on the current market. At this point, industry players step up their efforts in enhancing service, product quality, user recognition and marketing to meet the challenges caused by homogenization. It is learned that, many brands start to put weight on the distribution and service at third-tier and forth-tier markets, places previously lack of deployment and management in product distribution, installation and after sales.
Work to address pain points
With disinfecting cabinet as a significant part and oven and dish washer included by some brands, integrated stoves extend functions to meet consumer needs, which are particularly suitable for open kitchens and small kitchens. Besides, integrated stoves could be well placed in a kitchen as long as the space allows, freeing users from measuring, cutting and trimming the kitchen for a fit and thus winning the heart of many young consumers.
The safety level of integrated stoves grows, too. “For example, the gas leaking issue could be easily solved with a sensor to realize a series of functions including issuing a warning, turning off the fire automatically and activating the hoods.” A salesman tells our reporter. What’s more, boil dry protection function is equipped to most integrated stoves, helping to prevent smokes caused by burned food in advance.
Potential to be unleashed
Our reporter notices that integrated stoves could only be found in few department stores in Beijing with only a handful of brands to choose from, which lends credence to the low recognition of this product in first-tier cities. Charged at a range of 4,000 to 6, 000 Yuan in general, products carrying a high-end brand are priced at more than 9,000 Yuan, higher than the total cost of a hood and range package, driving some consumers to turn to choose the latter.
Considered as one of the future paths for this sector, smart functions, mainly integrated on a touch screen, are still at a primary stage at this point. Offering smarter, faster cooking experience is what industry insiders are looking at.
There are issues to be fixed, too. Designed with a downward ventilation system, integrated stoves does not fit with houses with upward ventilation, making installation and sealing painful. Besides, the integrated hood and gas range have to be replaced as a whole, which add cost to consumers. As technology improves with more industry players getting in, we believe that these issues will soon be solved down the road.