Leuven 02.06.2021

The Kitchen Industry’s Heartbeat

The biggest Belgian construction fair will open its doors again from the 19th to the 27th of February 2022. Unfortunately, Batibouw 2020 was the last major physical event in the Benelux right before the pandemic started raging. Attendance was dwindling each day as the severity of Covid-19 became increasingly harder to ignore.

To Batibouw Or Not To Batibouw. A question that occupies the industry almost since the debut of the event itself. Some exhibitors argue that Batibouw, as a sales event, is hollowed out. The once-exclusive fair conditions are offered year-round these days. But can you really resist the spotlights of Batibouw? Not seldom did exhibitors had to reappear after a few years of absence. Our guess is that presence on Batibouw will remain a catch-22 situation in the years ahead.

Let’s gauge the impact of Batibouw on the sales of the 9 most important product groups within major domestic appliances in Belgium (MDA 9). Below you can find a graph on the seasonality of sales in the kitchen retail trade (KRT). A complete corona year (April 2020 to March 2021) was plotted together with the historical data of the foregoing 192 months (April 2004 up to March 2020).

In general, we can’t observe a strong seasonal effect. Historically, sales peak in January, March, and October. In January, kitchen specialists surf the Solden wave. Based on this, we can expect another peak in July, coinciding with the second national Solden period. However, this is not the case since a majority of the retailers comply with the annual building industry holiday.

March and October both look evenly strong in sales. Since the corona-affected month of March ’21 is contained in the historical data, we can easily assume the month of March is the single largest month in revenue. This means on average a +10% increase. This can only be attributed to Batibouw. The timing of the event traditionally is during the end of February. Consumers get inspired, compare, decide, and order a kitchen during the month following the event while enjoying the best discounts.

The level of sales in October is harder to explain. It coincides with the shift from outside to inside that families typically go through when the end-of-year seasons nears. This comes with increased attention for interiors.

The purple curve on the graph shows how disruptive Corona was for the kitchen sector. It was plagued by two periods of closings since the sector was defined as non-essential. The effect is clear for April, May, and November. To end with a positive note: the sector saw a streak of 5 monthly sales records from October 2020 to March 2021, ignoring the November closings.

Article written by Karel Tyberghein

If you want to know more facts and figures about the kitchen retail market, do not hesitate to contact Karel.Tyberghein@gfk.com