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Small Appliances Drive Big Tickets: Report

NEW YORK — Countertop appliances are driving heftier online shopping baskets, a recent study shows.

According to HookLogic, a search ad marketing firm, the average value of an online basket containing small appliances is $185, or nearly 50 percent greater than the average $126.93 value of an appliance-less basket.

Despite the higher ticket, average basket size for small appliance purchases is actually smaller, at 2.4 items, than for appliance-free purchases, which average 3.2 units. HookLogic attributes this to the higher average selling price of appliances ($76.56) vs. non-appliances ($39.15), and to consumers’ greater selectivity and focus when purchasing these products, compared with “lower-value, low-commitment items like books or consumer packaged goods,” the firm said.

Still, 38 percent of small appliance purchases consisted of more than one item. Devices with a greater propensity to be purchased in combination with another small appliance include toasters and toaster ovens (25 percent); griddles (17 percent); slow cookers and waffle makers (tied at 16 percent); and irons, steamers and deep fryers (13 percent each).

When making multiple purchases, consumers tend to select similar items at the same time, such as toasters and waffle makers, mixers and blenders, and deep fryers and griddles, HookLogic said.

However, the highest sales-volume appliances, including fans, vacuum cleaners, coffee and tea makers, and blenders, tended to be stand-alone purchases, the firm observed.

Conversion rates were highest for microwave ovens, griddles, mixers, irons and steamers, toasters and toaster ovens, deep fryers, humidifiers and slow cookers, the study showed.

Conversely, conversion rates were lowest for higher priced and niche items like kegerators, bread machines, ice makers, cooktops, air conditioners and rice cookers, reflecting a lengthier research phase and greater browsing behavior by consumers.

The category has also been enjoying a renaissance online. HookLogic cited NPD Group statistics showing that online sales of small appliances grew 20 percent in 2013, compared with total sales growth of just 1 percent, giving the e-commerce channel a 20 percent share of total category value.

Supporting the sales statistics is a 2014 study by Walker Sands that found household goods were included in 38 percent of e-tail orders, making it the fourth most commonly purchased category online behind CE (69 percent), books (67 percent), and apparel (63 percent).

NPD executive director and home industry analyst Debra Mednick attributed the sharp online sales curve to the decline of department stores, the commodity nature of many countertop items, and improvements in the e-commerce experience, including free shipping and returns, detailed product descriptions and extensive user reviews, HookLogic said.

To help support small appliance sales, HookLogic recommends that retailers make the shopping process as easy as possible; employ robust content such as videos, reviews and user ratings; and present partner categories with strong conversion rates to encourage cross-purchasing.

The company based its report on an analysis of more than 5.1 million online transactions representing more than $650 million in sales over the 30-day period from July 6 through Aug. 4, 2014 on the HookLogic Retail Search Exchange network.