FALSE.  The kitchen gadget and tool category is NOT an impulse purchase driven category. True-False-Question

A Riedel Marketing Group telephone survey conducted in April and May 2000 revealed that 50% of respondents who had purchased kitchen gadgets and/or tools in the previous year bought on impulse when they saw kitchen gadgets in the store.  That was back when we had the discretionary income to buy stuff on impulse.

Then the Great Recession hit and dramatically curbed impulse purchasing of any sort.  Since the end of the Great Recession, consumers have not returned to their pre-recession spending habits … which means that the kitchen gadget and tool category is even less impulse purchase driven than it was in 2000.  According to Riedel Marketing Group’s Q1 Kitchen Gadget and Tool Market Tracker report, 35% of the kitchen gadget and tool purchases made in the first quarter of 2014 were impulse purchases.  ( Please note that this data reflects consumer purchases for the first quarter of 2014.  The percent of kitchen gadgets and/or tools that are bought on impulse may vary by quarter.)

Companies that are firmly convinced that the kitchen gadget and tool category is driven by impulse purchase are probably focusing on developing trendy “gadgety” types of gadgets in bright colors and clever shapes.  Take, for example, the crop of specialized kitchen gadgets for fruit and vegetable preparation that have been flooding the market in the past few years as kitchen gadget companies rush to take advantage of the healthy eating trend.   Many of these items — such as strawberry hullers, cherry pitters, avocado tools, and cauliflower corers — are designed to do a single fruit or vegetable prep task.

Many “gadgety” gadgets that are designed to appeal to impulse shoppers will fail.  For example, a number of the specialty fruit and vegetable gadgets that were introduced 2 or 3 years ago are already off the market.  These “gadgety” types of gadgets typically end up in the bottom of gadget drawer and may get used occasionally — if the consumer remembers they have it.

That’s why it’s critical that housewares companies keep current on consumer purchase behavior — and routinely question conventional wisdom and pre-conceived notions …  Because conventional wisdom and pre-conceived notions about consumer purchase behavior can lead to incorrect strategies that ultimately will have a negative impact on long-term growth and profitability.

I’d be willing to bet that companies who have historically focused on developing trendy “gadgety” types of gadgets in bright colors and clever shapes (because they are firmly convinced that the kitchen gadget and tool category is driven by impulse purchase) have probably had a string of new product introductions recently that have failed to meet management’s expectations. Now you know WHY you need to keep current on how consumer purchase behavior is changing. Now the question is HOW.  How do you keep current on consumer purchase behavior?   You analyze consumer purchase behavior when you do your annual market analysis.

Market Tracker reports are a good – and affordable — data source for consumer purchase behavior.  Market Tracker gives you the complete picture of the kitchen gadget and tool category from the consumer perspective – WHO bought, WHAT they bought, WHEN they bought, WHERE they bought, and WHY they bought – for all retail channels of distribution including Bed Bath & Beyond PLUS e-commerce, home party, and TV shopping.  In addition to the kitchen gadget and tool category, Market Tracker reports are available for the bakeware and cookware categories.

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