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Cookware saw a modest increase in sales during 2019, according to respondents of the State Of The Industry survey. The segment increased overall this year and now stands at $53 million, up from $52.8 million in 2018. Additionally, the independent housewares channel is seemingly encouraged by sales in the sector, as 16.7% plan to grow the category going into 2020, while 73.8% of respondents said they would be keeping the same amount of cookware on the sales floor. Only 9.5% of respondents said they would be decreasing the amount of cookware in 2020.

When it comes to the cookware segment, consumers still prefer to purchase open stock items as opposed to sets. This has been the phenomena in the cookware category for several years, as it allows consumers to purchase only the goods they need. Additionally, as consumers are moving into smaller spaces, cookware manufacturers are providing them with solution-driven cookware. These include smaller sets and goods that nest.

While cast iron cookware has been top of mind for consumers in the last several years, it seems as if other cookware segments are growing as well. Non-stick cookware has seen a bump in sales as coatings have been deemed safer and better quality. Cast enamel products, too, are beginning to see an increase in sales. These goods feature both colors and shapes, allowing for the creation of seasonal tablescapes as well as individual dishes.

As the growth of social media and the popularity of cooking shows — both online and on television — continues to impact cooking, ethnic cookware continues to grow.

Social media outlets have been a driver of ethnic cookware for the last several years for a plethora of reasons. Photo-driven outlets like Instagram cater to the desire for home cooks to show off their finished product in visual form. However, the continued demand for authenticity from consumers ensures they will be making their meals with the proper cookware for the job, whether this be a wok or caldero.

Cookware, however, is still facing market challenges. While the category has seen a number of hurdles in the past few years — the market penetration of copper-coated cookware, PTFE/PTOF concerns and tariffs — this year is no different. Direct-to-consumer cookware has started to encroach on the normal path to purchase for these products. These brands are touting messages of craftmanship, quality and durability. These factors contribute to consumer confusion and information overload, both of which can shy potential customers away from making a purchase. With the continued launch of these brands into the market, it could hinder cookware sales into 2020 and beyond.

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