UK consumers spend more than £6bn a year on household appliances and their spend has risen rapidly in the past 10 years. Internet traders do well on price but many features on technologically advanced products need explaining. So retailers still have a role in supplying high-end or niche appliances.
One of the big cooking revolutions, induction - a faster, safer and more energy efficient heat source - has started slowly because of consumer loyalty to traditional cooking methods, particularly gas. But induction hob sales are growing substantially and many manufacturers are offering a 'best of both' solution, that offers maximum flexibility, by building gas burners and induction zones into a single hob.
Washing appliances have been developing in two key ways: capacity and technology. Larger families mean washing machines with 8kg loads are popular, while smart technology features ensure, for example, that the machine adjusts its programme to suit the load, or prompts an extra rinse cycle if traces of detergent remain.
Manufacturers are investing heavily in demands for environmentally sound, low-energy products; innovative built-in kitchen appliances; premium products with designer appeal; and advanced, yet user-friendly control options.
However, the key to successful lines is functionality combined with small dimensions. The demand for space-savers - driven by the number of homeowners with small properties and developers looking to maximise potential appeal of small plots - has prompted creative solutions.
These include the re-emergence of combi products, including Hoover Candy's Trio which comprises an oven, hob and dishwasher, and a dishwasher unit integrated into the draining board space from US premium brand KitchenAid, which has recently launched its large appliances in the UK.
Where space is at a premium, washer/dryers are of course continuing to do well, although energy issue is affecting the popularity of lines. Many retailers have also seen potential profits on appliances hit by changes to the regulations governing the sale of extended warranties - traditionally a prime earner for many in the market.
However, strong sales overall mean that whether a retailer is better suited to selling hot new induction hobs or the coolest refrigerator, there are plenty of opportunities.