Major appliance exhibitors at the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (KBIS) were few and far between during the recessionary years following the housing market meltdown.
Adding insult to injury was increased competition from CES, where full-line vendors like Haier, LG and Samsung also showed their white-goods wares, and companies like GE and Whirlpool brought their increasingly tech-driven lines.
But majap makers are back in force at this week’s show in Las Vegas, closing the chapter on the lean times and reinforcing KBIS and the co-located International Builders Show (IBS) as this country’s preeminent appliance showcase.
Unlike CES, where the focus was on the smart home, KBIS exhibitors are touting new looks, functions and value-added features in addition to Wi-Fi capabilities, which have quickly become table stakes.
Here are some key trends to emerge from the majap aisles of this year’s show, which runs through Thursday:
Drink And Be Merry
After taking a stab at home-carbonated beverages, manufacturers have turned their attention to drinks of the alcoholic kind. Wine cabinets abound on the Las Vegas Convention Center floor, including new entries from Smeg, Thermador and LG’s Signature Kitchen Suite. LG further rolled out the barrel with its new LG HomeBrew, a tabletop appliance that uses pre-packed pods to make five styles of beer.
The industry has come a long way since the days of white and avocado refrigerators. Now that stainless steel has become a staple, vendors are adding new shades and surfaces to add spice to the silver and keep smudges at bay. Standouts include Tuscan Stainless, a warm, bronze-like tone for Samsung’s kitchen line; a new Misty Blue hue coming to KitchenAid; a glass-coated platinum finish for GE Appliances’ Café collection, representing the first glass appliance line in the country; and Smeg’s color-rich Dolce&Gabbana designs, which extend from refrigerators to a new ceramic-surface range and hood.
Chef of the Future
In pursuit of “purposeful innovation,” Whirlpool is leveraging connected technology — and its 2017 purchase of online recipe bank Yummly — to provide meal suggestions, food prep guidance and automatic oven settings based on a scan of foodstuffs on hand. Similarly, LG has forged a new partnership with gourmet food service Tovala, which delivers prepared meals with accompanying barcodes that provide cooking instructions to select ovens and ranges.