8 Appliance Industry Trends to Look For in 2019
Sleek design and connected functionality are home appliance trends that retailers need to keep in mind as they serve their customers in 2019 and beyond. Millennials are driving much of this, and they can’t be ignored. This generation — people born between 1982 and 2000 — is now the nation’s largest and coming into their own as homeowners and appliance buyers. These are largely digital natives. More than 90% own smartphones and, along with the exploding adoption of Alexa and Google Home smart speakers, this generation and the young Americans behind them expect to be able to do nearly everything with technology.
Appliance makers are responding by building refrigerators that display their contents, washing machines that order detergent on their own, and dishwashers that can be told to turn on and off by users across the room or across the country. There are also aesthetic trends that appliance vendors need to plug into, because their customers are. That includes bright colors and neutral tones alike joining the choice between black or white, and the growing popularity of minimalist flat designs and built-ins.
Here are some 2019 trends we’d like to highlight for you from our perspective at Climatic:
- Smart Appliances In The Kitchen
Connected appliances are quickly becoming less exotic and more accepted. Convenience is the reason why. Manufacturers are making it possible for consumers to control appliances in their kitchen by using their smartphones from wherever they are and whenever they want. Just one example: Samsung’s Family Hub smart refrigerator that offers built-in shopping list creation functionality, three built-in cameras for viewing what’s inside without opening the doors, and even the ability to stream music, videos and TV shows on one of the French doors.
Voice recognition technology also is coming into play, allowing users to instruct their stoves, refrigerators and more to turn on, off, and more.
The Sharp brand is among those expected to soon offer Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers to instruct new smart fridges to switch to a super cool mode, for instance, or an oven to turn on a boost mode to cut down pre-heat times. Dishwashers that can be told to turn on and off and washing machines that track detergent use and order more on their own also are expected to be on the market soon.
- Options for Stainless Steel
Stainless steel appliances have become a standard, for their attractiveness, durability, and cleanability. The classic look remains a popular choice but manufacturers are expanding their palette. For example, Samsung is offering the warm look of Tuscan Stainless and GE Collections has added a glass-coated platinum finish option in its Café collection that’s billed as the first glass appliance line offered in the U.S. Black stainless steel also is available now in multiple configurations, a desirable option both for its traditional appeal and for those interested in the design trend of white on black. Frigidaire and Samsung are among those now offering that color in stainless steel with a polymer coating that gives it that attractive finish and smudge resistance.
- What’s Old Is New: Bright Colors and Retro Design
A return to the past also is a trend to watch this year. There’s a continuing interest in the aesthetically appealing yet highly functional retro look for consumers who want to create interesting new looks with old designs in their modern kitchens. Accommodating that aesthetic are companies like SMEG, an Italian manufacturer of kitchen appliances that offers an array of toasters, kettles, blenders, mixers, refrigerators and grills that feature 1950s designs in colors such as black, yellow and pastel green, as well as elaborate, artistic motifs.
- Induction Cooktops Heating Up
Induction cooktops are growing in popularity, especially with serious home cooks who appreciate the technology’s combination of precision heat delivery and safety. Induction cooktops use a magnetic field that responds to the contact with cookware, providing faster heating and cooling than traditional gas and electric ranges. They’re also sleek and attractive and are being offered by a growing roster of manufacturers, including Samsung, Electrolux, and GE.
- Steam Ovens Appeal to the Health Conscious and Power Chefs
Steam ovens appeal to many health-conscious consumers because they help maintain the nutritional value and color of food by preventing drying and requiring less fat and oil for cooking. They come in three main varieties: standard steam, convection steam, and combination steam. The first only steams, the second provides convection and steam heat, and the third adds broiling functionality. Multiple vendors make them now, including SMEG, Samsung and Sharp.
- Tall Column Refrigerators Reach New Heights
The column is a remodel or new home solution for the space conscious, with leading design and premium performance in food preservation. Tall column refrigerators combine clever design with an elegant look and lend themselves to customized kitchen design by integrating with multiple cupboard configurations. While they have only about half the storage capacity as their bigger brethren, these are hardly dorm fridges and they have all the features today’s consumers need and expect, including basics such as odor seal and temperature zones, and coming smart technology. One trade-off is that these models do not dispense water or ice through the door. Column examples include SMEG’s CB300 model, which has grown increasingly in sales as column refrigeration popularity has also grown.
- Flat Design Appeals to Kitchen Minimalists
Expect to hear more about flat design in the months ahead. It’s a minimalist approach that minimizes unnecessary elements while maximizing usability. That uncrowded visual appeal works in large and small spaces and appliance manufacturers are responding by providing products that accommodate the use of minimal dispensers, recessed handles, and hidden displays. Samsung offers a good example of minimalist design in their new RF23M8080SR stainless steel refrigerator that features uninterrupted, clean lines and seamless, built-in finish.
- Built-Ins Save Space and Add Appeal
Smaller living spaces and the desire for sleek designs regardless of space are helping to drive the popularity of built-in appliances, a trend expected to continue going forward. Under-counter appliances are a key design element in that trend, especially among those who want to limit or eliminate upper cabinets. As a result, under-counter refrigerators that complement or replace standard-size models are an attractive option for appliance retailers to add to their lineups, as are built-in microwaves — especially in kitchen islands — and built-in, drawer-form dishwashers.