NKBA Study Notes How Kitchens Are Used

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — Today’s kitchen market is populated by a diverse universe of homeowners who, based on a wide range of factors, use their kitchens differently, have different remodeling goals and seek different levels of support from kitchen design professionals.

That’s the key conclusion of the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s “Lifestyle Segmentation Report,” a groundbreaking research initiative that offers an in-depth analysis into how today’s homeowners use their kitchens – and how lifestyles, finances, demographics, attitudes and other factors impact remodeling decisions and the role that homeowners want kitchen design pros to play (see related Editorial).

The national online survey, whose findings were released in April, was conducted among nearly 800 adults with household incomes of $40,000 or higher who had remodeled their kitchen, or planned to remodel, between November 2016 and August 2017. The survey segmented homeowners by their levels of confidence regarding cooking ability, design aptitude and comfort level in utilizing technology.

The resultant research identifies a wide range of homeowner preferences with regard to kitchen size, layout, budget, product selection, storage needs, buying sources and functional considerations such as cooking, meal preparation, family dining, clean-up and entertaining. Also spotlighted is how homeowners use technology in the kitchen, as well as how kitchens are used for ancillary activities such as answering email/texts, surfing the internet, watching TV, handling finances and doing homework. Lastly, the study offers a correlation between all of those factors and the various roles that homeowners want kitchen design professionals to play.


The NKBA research identifies five distinct consumer lifestyle segments – two seeking design help and three who are not – characterized by “Confident Cooks” and “Struggling Cooks.” The segments are further differentiated by consumers who seek (and are willing to pay for) professional design assistance and those who do not.

The homeowner segments looking for a designer to guide them through the kitchen remodel process should be considered “high-value” customers, accounting for 51% of the kitchen-remodel market but 58% of spending, according to the NKBA (see pie chart above).

The NKBA further notes that, while each consumer segment offers an opportunity to develop specific strategies for meeting different needs, there are preferences and behaviors – for example, project triggers and “pain points” – that the segments share.

For instance, when starting a project, the NKBA notes, most homeowners mention having an outdated kitchen that doesn’t function well, or is in need of replacing products and features. Although some segments require a more extensive remodel than others, all agree that countertops, cabinets, flooring and appliances contribute heavily to the overall look and function of their kitchen. Kitchen style and design preferences are also generally consistent across lifestyle segments. Likewise, specific product selections – including styles, materials and colors – are similar across the segments.

In contrast, differentiating characteristics involve such factors as cooking, entertaining, confidence in kitchen design and the need for technology in the kitchen. Kitchen project budgets also vary by segment, since some homeowners require more extensive remodels than others. Some segments also employ a more involved research process, using more sources for inspiration, product comparisons and purchasing. Purchase channels and use of installers also varies by segment, as do age, income, household demographics and home size/value.

Editor’s Note: The complete “Lifestyle Segmentation Report” is available for purchase at the NKBA store. ▪

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