We already know that the kitchen industry is not recession proof. Though most companies have held up pretty well so far, we are starting to some some cracks in the road to recovery. Some are pretty wide and deep…
The companies who seem to be effected the most, by the world recession, are a few of the largest companies. Perhaps their sheer size, makes it so much harder to adjust to though times and make the unnecessary adjustments quickly.
If you look at the 10 largest European Companies, you can see the effect of the global economy – Nobia, the largest European kitchen group (at least in 2009), already sold off Pronorm in 2010 and is now reported to pull out their Poggenpohl brand from the up coming Eurocucina…
One other German industry giant – the Alno Group, is also reported to be in rough waters. The ever so needed capital, from new Swiss investor, Mr. Max Muller is hopefully going to help the company who has reportedly have gone through several changes in middle and upper management lately and allegedly is in the middle of a pending law suit by the previous CEO over compensation.
In Italy, the recent bankruptcy of the 50+ year old Salvarani and the rumors of many brands in financial difficulties have the industry in buzz…
It will be very interesting to see what the Milan Fair and the Eurocucina show will look like next April. Rumor has it that Cosmit, who is the organizer of the show, is working very hard on convincing companies to return to the show next year.
After many requests and lots of diliberations I’ve decided to post my own top 20 European brands. Top 20 European kitchen companies, because I simply felt that there are too many great European kitchen brands to limit the list to just top 10.
My Top 20 is based on the following criteria’s:
- DESIGN – overall product design, esthetics and selection depth (colors, materials, design elements, etc.).
- PRODUCT INNOVATION – is this a kitchen brand that takes risks, that is on the cutting edge of technology and innovates or just a company that copies others?
- PRODUCT QUALITY – how well made is the product? Does the company ‘cuts corners’?
- SERVICE – delivery on time, delivers complete orders, ‘after sale’ service, etc.
I have chosen not to take into consideration COMPANY SIZE, as there is no real direct benefit to the buyer and I’ve already listed the 10 largest European brands.
I also did not factor VALUE because I feel that value is very individual – what one consumer sees as a great value, another may view as cheap. Webster’s definition of Value is – “a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged”. Once a kitchen brand has top design, innovation, quality and service, the price will always be higher. Surprizingly, there are a few kitchen brands on this list that have a pretty good value, as well as ranking high on all the other categories.
In the Top 20 European Kitchen 11 Italian kitchen brands, 7 German kitchen companies, one English and one French are in the above list.
So, without further a due and in alphabetical order here are my Top 20 European kitchen Brands:
The Best of the Best in European Kitchen Design
- European Kitchens at the Top
- The Top Twenty European Kitchen Companies
Honorable mentions: there were a few companies that did not make it to my Top 20 European Kitchen Brands, but deserve a mention. Also in the advise of one of the readers of this blog, i’ve decided to update this post and add a few more (they deserve it!). We’ll call this section the “hors catégorie” (thanks Pierangelo):
Clive Christian – ranked high on DESIGN and if marketing was a category, will most definitely be included in the Top 20 list.
Marchi – ranked very high on DESIGN and INNOVATION.
Minotti – one of the best in creating the very unique, minimalist and clean look, that goes beyond a kitchen design. Not for everyone and is available only in selected few locations worldwide but Minotti is at the top of the DESIGN category.
LaCornue – though they are really more of an appliance company (ranges, cook tops, etc.) , they do offer cabinets and other elements that allow them to complete a kitchen. Very unique DESIGN, perhaps a trend setter in the high end appliance arena, with HIGH QUALITY products.
· 138,000 visitors from 128 countries
· Extremely international and high-quality visitor structure
· Excellent mood amongst the 1,213 providers from 48 countries
On 23rd January 2011, the imm cologne and LivingKitchen in Cologne drew to a close with an excellent result. Including estimates for the final day of the fair, the dual event drew around 138,000 visitors to Cologne – an increase of 38 percent.
“What’s been happening here over the last few days is unbelievable. What trade fair can announce such marked double-digit visitor growth? That’s a great signal for the consumer goods trade fairs in Germany during the course of the year and convincing confirmation that trade fairs are a highly efficient marketing tool,” sums up the trade fair’s visibly satisfied commander-in-chief Gerald Böse. “We have all become part of a success story called imm cologne and LivingKitchen. Cologne is the absolute focal point of the furniture industry again, especially when it comes to the business side of things, as well as home to the international kitchen furniture industry,” adds the CEO of Koelnmesse. Dirk Uwe Klaas, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie), came to a similar conclusion: “It was by far the best furniture fair we’ve had in the last 10 years: more visitors, more contracts signed and an excellent mood. An excellent start to the 2011 furniture year for our national furniture industry and a huge success for Koelnmesse.”
The unique combination of furnishing and kitchen worlds convinced both trade visitors and the general public. The excellent reception the event met with Page2 from visitors during the entire week of the fair ensured beaming faces on the manufacturers’ side. 138,000 professional buyers and consumers from 128 countries flocked to the exhibition halls of the imm cologne // LivingKitchen – 38 percent more than attended the previous event (imm cologne 2010). There were significant increases amongst trade visitors, not only from within Germany but above all from abroad, most notably from the Netherlands, France, Italy and Switzerland, as well as Eastern Europe in general and Russia in particular. In addition, more buyers were registered from important export markets like Asia, the Near East and North America. All in all, the trade fair drew increased numbers of visitors from almost all countries. “This result is convincing proof that the diverse activities and high level of commitment we put into attracting national and international visitors were successful and have definitely paid off,” says Gerald Böse
The extremely good mood at the imm cologne was reflected in the halls of the LivingKitchen fair:
· “What we’ve experienced in Cologne in the last few days speaks volumes. I’m particularly delighted that the kitchen has returned to Cologne with such a spectacular sensation,” sums up Hans Strothoff, Chairman of the MHK Group.
· “We are extraordinarily pleased with the way the fair has gone and the result. The response from dealers and visitors from Germany and abroad was very positive. And the number of visitors far exceeded our expectations,” says Roland Hagenbucher, CEO of Siemens-Electrogeräte GmbH
· When it comes to covering fabrics, plain colours dominate. Colourful stripes or abstract graphics are popular choices for accentuation. White remains the megacolour. In the leather segment, thick, barely treated natural leathers with a tactile, inviting character are particularly popular.
· LED lighting technology has made its breakthrough. The majority of wardrobes, wall units, sideboards and display cabinets are being equipped with this energy-saving lighting technology. LED fulfils two functions: brightness and atmosphere.
· Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role in furniture construction too. Wood is becoming more and more popular, not only for storage and kitchen furniture but for comfortable chairs and loungers and as a visible component of sofas. Wood is reclaiming its former status in the furniture sector. One striking development: the many items featuring untreated oak, sometimes even complete with bark.
imm cologne // LivingKitchen in figures:
1,213 companies from 48 countries participated in the imm cologne // LivingKitchen 2011. They included 521 exhibitors and 32 additionally represented companies from Germany as well as 614 exhibitors and 46 additionally represented companies from abroad. Foreign companies accounted for 54 percent of exhibitors.*
* All figures are calculated according to the guidelines of the Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (Gesellschaft zur Freiwilligen Kontrolle von Messe- und Ausstellungszahlen, FKM)
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