While lockdown facilitated a time at home for consumers to revaluate their spaces and realise the need for upgrades and new ‘at home’ work spaces it also created a nervousness about having people working in your home. Kitchen manufacturers have had to take this into consideration in their marketing and their dealings with existing and potential customers. Allaying these fears and assuring consumers that the company is taking COVID-19 prevention measure seriously has had to be a key message. The peak of infections has made this more pertinent than ever.
The initial access to work has been fairly good with the industry managing to complete contract and residential work signed up before lockdown. Getting new work has been more challenging. New builds have slowed drastically and where consumers were planning for a new residential kitchen they are now considering a ‘make over’ rather than a full renovation. Shopfitting has been particularly hard hit with KSA members that work in that field finding new jobs almost impossible to find. All of these pressures shaping the new normal has forced the industry to stating to think outside the box.
While we have all been in lockdown our desire to see new and inspirational design and trends has not diminished. Consumers have taken to online platforms to satisfy their need to see something new. This has meant that the kitchen industry, many of whom are small, no-too-tech-savvy businesses have had to move themselves into the digital space quickly. This has forced them to learn new skills and developing new marketing strategies and platforms to showcase their work and connect with consumers. Essentially COVID-19 has forced a very quick tech-upskilling within the industry.
Large supplier members from the industry have taken the lead in the move to online. Worldwide lockdown has kept us deprived of many new industry trends. With both local and international trade shows being cancelled due to Covid-19 the access to new ideas and products for industry and consumer alike has been limited. The kitchen manufacturers have relied heavily on suppliers with international links to keep them abreast of new colours, patterns and textures through the launch of their new product ranges. Used to being able to celebrate their new materials through in-person launches, supplier members have had to find new ways to engage the industry and industry professionals, and make them aware of what’s new, both locally produced and imported. Several members of the KSA have celebrated new product ranges so far this year including PG Bison, Caesarstone, Rehau, Cosentino and Sonae Arauco. The KSA has been proud to be part of many of these launches working with the suppliers to help get their message out. The extended lockdown is not getting the better of suppliers who are continuing to find new and innovative ways to get their new products to market. We are guaranteed to see more new products before the year is out.