Kitchenware Startups Focus in on MillennialsToday pretty much any product can be purchased with ease from one’s laptop or mobile phone. It has become the norm for Millennials to order items online such as mattresses and furniture for their homes, even getting food delivered straight to their door. Convenience is the common factor and has prompted direct-to-customer startups to go after the growing number of Millennials who are bringing new life to cooking.
Until recently, kitchenware had yet to make its presence in the direct-to-consumer market. Currently, several startups are entering the market to provide high-quality and unique cookware such as knives and pans to Millennials who are moving away from house parties and transitioning to dinner parties. Companies such as Material, Made In and Misen are all vying for the Millennial chef’s attention.
All of these kitchenware startups have one thing in common: To provide an online offering of kitchenware that would have otherwise been historically purchased at a physical retail store. Unable to compete with large, established retailers when it comes to numerous brick-and-mortar locations, online kitchenware start-ups are providing a new niche for Millennial chefs.
Just as Warby Parker did for eye- and sunglasses, these companies are upending their industry by offering quality products at reasonable prices by circumventing traditional channels.
These kitchenware startups are focused on conveying their story and message to older Millennials who tend to be wealthier and looking to upgrade their cookware. Made In’s co-founder Bradford Malt wants to provide a few key essential cooking pieces to the Millennial home chef’s kitchen instead of a bunch of miscellaneous items.
Millennials Looking to Upgrade Their Kitchen ExperienceOver the past decade, companies that focus online and sell direct have found a lot of success with the Millennial generation. Specifically, because they are comfortable with buying the bulk of their products through an online source without seeing the physical product first. This has worked quite well for companies such as Warby Parker, Casper, and Harry’s Razor.
Compared to their parents’ generation, Millennials eat out more often, at 44% versus 40%, contributing to the Millennials' appreciation for gastronomy. But as they age, Millennials are expected to bring that appreciation home, spending more time in their own kitchens, and igniting the growing trend of high-quality kitchenware being delivered straight to their home.
The media has played a huge part in making chefs look like rock stars, especially as creative cooking has become more popular with famous chefs on Food Network shows like Top Chef and Chopped. So it's easy to see why Millennials would find being a home chef so appealing. But even in the wake of this media cooking frenzy, the kitchenware industry has been slow to jump on board, and kitchenware brands have lagged to capture the Millennial home chef.
Previous kitchenware brands have dropped the ball in delivering quality, affordability, and convenience to the busy Millennial home chef; they've failed to recognize that this demographic wants better quality kitchenware than their parents or grandparents did, leaving plenty of room for start-ups like Made In to solve that problem and capitalize on this new niche in cookware.
Emerging Kitchenware Brands Compete for Millennial LoyaltyOlder Millennials are the prime target for the new emerging kitchenware brands. Especially for the home cook who has yet to upgrade their kitchenware and, more importantly, has yet to claim brand loyalty to any one brand. This is backed by a survey from Made In that reported 90% of home chefs didn’t know the brand name of their kitchenware.
For most Millennials, their kitchen drawers consist of an assortment of hand-me-downs or low-end brand products. For emerging kitchenware brands, the focus is on pricing somewhere in the middle between low-priced and high-end.
Along with popular cooking shows that have made home cooking edgy, home food delivery services and Instagram-worthy shots of people cooking at home have made dining in a social trend. Increasingly, Millennial home chefs want to re-create meals that they have experienced dining out at restaurants. But until now, they didn’t have the right kitchenware to make that happen.
With cookware sales up by 9% in 2017, expect to see more online kitchenware stores emerge and target the Millennial home chef. Misen, Material and Made In are leading the way in upgrading the Millennial kitchen by offering more high-quality and affordable products to complete every home chef.