Britons are going large in the kitchen, with demand for super-size appliances hitting record levels. United Kingdom-based appliance retailer Currys says washing machines, cookers and refrigerator/freezers have grown in size as much as 25 percent in the last 5 years.
In the last 12 months Currys saw sales of large-capacity washing machines increase by 150 percent. Meanwhile the market for extra large American style refrigerator/freezers grew 800 percent in the last 5 years as retail prices fell as much as 30 percent. Purchases of range-style cookers have also increased more than 40 percent since 2003.
"There seems to be an insatiable appetite for bigger appliances as more people recognize that running a modern home can be easier with bigger cookers, washing machines and fridge freezers," said Anna Burleigh, Currys brand marketing director. "Not only are there now far more of these kind of products to choose from, with the average price falling by 30 percent over the last few years they have also become a lot more affordable and that has definitely fueled this trend. At this rate, by 2010 more than half of British families will be washing, cooking and cooling with extra large appliances."
Driving Big Appliance Demand in the UK
Customer feedback collected by Currys shows that demand for big washing machines comes from consumer desire to save energy and time by washing larger loads. Demand for bigger refrigerators/freezers comes from the exposure the products are getting on home improvement shows, as well as consumer desire to cut back on the frequency of their grocery shopping. The popularity of larger cookers is attributed to the growth in home cooking in general, with British consumers becoming more ambitious in the kitchen. Range cookers are preferred because they allow several dishes to be prepared at once.
What's Big In Washing Machines
Currys saw washing machine capacities grow by 15 percent since 2001. Its bestselling washing machine 5 years ago was the Indesit WG1130, with a maximum load of 5 kg. Today 6 kg machines are commonplace and some, like the Electrolux EWF12108W, have the capacity for loads up to 8 kg. There is even a model LGWM12270BD that holds up to 10 kg, essentially cutting the number of standard-size washes in half.
What's Big In Refrigerator/Freezers
Refrigerator/freezers have doubled in size since 2001, when the bestselling model at Currys was the 8.2-cubic-foot capacity Candy CP2411. Today the bestselling refrigerator/freezer is the Daewoo ERF336, with a capacity of 10.6 cubic feet or 20 percent larger. The largest model Currys has is the Maytag Zig Zag, with 25 cubic feet of capacity. Currys says that the number of large refrigerator/freezers sold annually grew from about 19,000 in 2001 to more than 170,000 today.
What's Big In Cookers
Currys reports that cookers have also beefed up to meet modern British tastes. Models come in 90 cm, 100 cm and 110 cm, the biggest of which have up to 8 hobs. A decade ago, cookers were at least 20 percent smaller, typically with 2-4 hobs. The best selling cooker at Currys today is the Kenwood 405, measuring 90 cm, with five hobs and two ovens, the largest of which has a capacity of 60 liters.
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