In recent years, the cookware industry has started to see changes in buyer behavior.
Premium cookware has always been a popular gift. Every December, Google searches around the most popular brands and items see a predictable peak. And items like Le Creuset dutch ovens and KitchenAid mixers have long been convenient happy-new-home presents and staple items on wedding wishlists.
But the middle class Millennials who’d be prime recipients of these gifts are getting married later in their lives, and home ownership is off the cards for many. As Amanda Mull writes in The Atlantic, young people who are growing out of their cheap kitchenware are now having to stock their own adult kitchens, and cookware brands are seeing more and more people buying for themselves.
These items aren’t just about function. Popularity is heavily influenced by their appearance in popular cooking shows and Instagram dinner party pics.
Mull writes: “Colorful cast-iron cookware by brands like Le Creuset and the retro, brightly hued stand mixers by KitchenAid aren’t just culinary workhorses; they’ve become small markers of stability and sophistication, coveted by young people for whom traditional indicators of both often remain out of reach.”
This was the story up til the beginning of 2020, but a lot has changed since then.
The impact of lockdown
How has Covid-19 (and the accompanying lockdowns) affected demand and perceptions around these “trophies of domesticity”?
As mentioned above, Google searches around popular brands and items see a seasonal spike every December. In 2020, the pattern seems to have been disrupted with unseasonal interest around May.