Philippa Turrell looks at the rise and rise of the induction hob, and says the time is right for retailers and designers to push sales
No longer a ‘newbie’ to the cooking appliance arena, induction has not only become a contender in hob sales but muscled its way to be an out and out winner for many. Such is its popularity; induction has bolstered the entire electrical hob sector, ultimately seeing it take over gas as the fuel of choice. The growth of induction hob sales has been staggering. Trade marketing manager for Whirlpool, Juan Pillay says: “GfK reported a 7.1% increase in hob sales volume and 6.3% by value for January-December 2012 to January-December 2013. This increase was fuelled by ‘electric ceramic glass induction’ that increased by 17.8% in volume and 12.7% in value.”
As the technology becomes older and more cost-effective to manufacture, the entry point becomes more accessible to the masses. And, unsurprisingly, the most popular induction hob remains the most affordable – the 600mm model with four zones. It suits the replacement market, offering a like-for-like sized alternative. However, consumers are willing to up their spend for larger-sized and more premium-priced induction hobs. Perhaps this has been influenced by the continuing development of zoneless technology. These, which are now in many appliance manufacturers’ portfolios, not only provide more space but fulfil consumer demand for cooking flexibility as they adapt to individual pan sizes. Or, could it be consumers are becoming increasingly drawn to the latest top-end technology of touch or slider controls, pause functions or automatic recipe functions, whether through own research or instore information.
Yet, it’s not only the larger models, which meet the demand for cooking flexibility, as we reported last year, one of the fastest-growing induction hob is the domino.The advantage of the domino is that it can be combined alongside more traditional hobs to create a bespoke cooking environment. As flexible zoning and domino designs will now doubt be the next generation of hobs to filter downmarket, what will be the future of induction?
Well, the future of induction is almost upon us. Certainly, hobs will boast even more intelligent, automatic functions, with smarter use of energy too. While Whirlpool has showcased a concept Interactive Cooktop at the Consumer Electronics Show, which can be controlled by voice or touch and connectable to the internet for recipe downloads. But more importantly, its ‘artificial intelligence’ allows it to automatically save resources, such as using Smart Grid. Although these may seem novel, connectability is becoming big news for the home and like it or loathe it, this is a trend which is only likely to grow.
The full article appeared in the May 2014 issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News.