The number eight.
At first, it appears to be an unassuming number â€“ until you realise the importance of it to the entire world around us. Itâ€™s the number that ensures that we humans exist (itâ€™s the atomic number of oxygen and the number of known B vitamins); it can be a force for good (itâ€™s a lucky number for the Chinese), evil (’88’ is the abbreviated terminology used for the Nazi salute, “Heil Hitler”â€””H” being the eighth letter of the alphabet, repeated twice) and it can bringjoy and laughter to large sections of the population (because itâ€™s important in Chess, Bingo and Pool!)
And itâ€™s a key number to many kitchen retailers!
Because 8% is the rough estimate of the percentage of a homeâ€™s value that â€˜design expertsâ€™ often quote that people should spend on replacing a tired, worn out, out-of-date kitchen with a quality new one without overspending on a remodelling project.
So, for the purpose of this blog, letâ€™s accept this figure and check to see whether it’s the average amount our clients are actually spending currently. For illustrative purposes (and to make it easy for me!) Iâ€™ve taken just one of our trading areas, Milton Keynes, where the reported average house value is Â£193,245 (April-June 2011, source: BBC) making eight percent almost Â£15,500.
So is Â£15,500 the reality of what weâ€™re seeing customers spend on their kitchen? After all, in reality doesn’t what people spend on a new kitchen depend on their taste, size of the room, number of cabinets and type of appliances required and, ultimately, budget?
Taking an average of all the kitchen installations weâ€™ve done during the past year our clientsâ€™ average spend in the Milton Keynes region has been about 6-8% lower than this.
This really doesnâ€™t surprise or worry me. All retailers have had to adapt to meet customersâ€™ changing needs, whatever sector theyâ€™re operating in â€“ and weâ€™re no different.Â For example, on Saturday I was in our showroom overseeing the installation of a beautiful, modern two colour slab door kitchen display kitchen that offers customers a quality alternative to the DIY sheds, buildersâ€™ merchants and other flat-pack providers for a great price.Â It replaced a rather tired, rather less fashionable intricate in-framed one and shows what customers are looking for today versus just a couple of years ago.
And we must be doing something right because despite the general economic gloom and low consumer confidence people have about spending their hard-earned money on big ticket items such as a new fitted kitchen currently, we will finish our financial year at the end of this week up by almost 400% on the previous year.
So we tend to ignore the â€˜magicalâ€™ 8% figure. Weâ€™d much rather work with clients to understand what theyâ€™re trying to achieve within whatever budget they have because, at the end of the day, weâ€™d rather have whatever a customer wants and can afford to spend than 8% of nothing!
For hundreds of pictures of kitchens we’ve installed for delighted clients please go toÂ www.facebook.com/NicholasHytheKitchenDesignStudio