Household Cooking Equipment

SIC 3631

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing household electric and non-electric cooking equipment, such as stoves, ranges, and ovens, except portable electric appliances. This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing microwave and convection ovens, including portable. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing other electric household cooking appliances, such as portable ovens, hot plates, grills, percolators, and toasters, are classified in SIC 3634: Electric Housewares and Fans. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing commercial cooking equipment are classified in SIC 3589: Service Industry Machinery, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Industry Snapshot

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that a total of 117 establishments operating in this industry in 2007. These companies shipped more than $4.6 billion worth of merchandise that year, of which outdoor barbecues/grills accounted for $2 billion and electric ranges comprised $1.6 billion, representing nearly 90 percent of total industry shipments. Other types of appliances accounted for the remainder. Two-thirds of these operations employed less than 10 people, and about 25 percent had at least 100 employees. The largest concentrations of operations in this industry were in California (15 percent), Texas (11 percent), and Florida (7 percent).

At the end of the first decade of the 2000s, the industry struggled through a global economic recession. The overall manufacturing sector was hit particularly hard, including household cooking appliance manufacturing. Shipments fell sharply from 19.2 million units in 2008 to 16.5 million units in 2010.

Organization and Structure

Household cooking equipment was part of the appliance market that included washing machines, refrigerators, and other long-term appliances. Most appliances were purchased for new housing, replacement, or remodeling. Because people bought household cooking equipment to furnish their homes, housing slumps sometimes hurt the industry severely. By the 1990s this was a mature industry, with much consolidation occurring among the major appliance manufacturers. Replacement of old and worn out appliances drove the market, since most major appliances lasted 10 to 15 years.

Five major corporations dominated the household appliance industry during the 1990s. Many of the main appliance manufacturers attempted to expand their markets globally, often by opening factories in Europe and Asia. By the mid-1990s, about 98 percent of all major appliances, except microwave ovens, were U.S.-made. Small appliances like coffee makers, food processors, and toasters, were often imported from Europe.

Background and Development

Before the advent of the Franklin stove (invented by Ben Franklin), food was typically cooked in a fireplace or potbellied stove. Franklin's invention was only a slight improvement over open-hearth cooking, since his stove was only an iron box with flues.

During the nineteenth century, cast iron ranges that burned coal or wood were developed, but food still had to be monitored constantly because these heat sources were unpredictable. While these stoves enabled a variety of foods to be cooked at once, they were dirty and a fire hazard.

Gas burning stoves were also developed in the nineteenth century. They concentrated heat at the cooking source and ensured that food was cooked more evenly and all the way through. The transition to gas cooking, however, required a major plumbing overhaul as pipes had to be hooked up to a stove. Middle and upper class housewives used the first gas stoves. Thermostatically controlled gas ovens began appearing in 1915 and essentially freed cooks from the kitchen, since food could be left unattended for brief periods.

The 1893 Columbian Exhibition at Chicago featured a "Model Electric Kitchen." Attempts to use electricity in home cooking occurred as early as the late nineteenth century. In 1905 the "General Electric Range" was introduced. Equipped with its own switchboard, it sat on metal legs with the oven well above the cooking surface. Until 1912 most electric ranges were converted gas cookers made of cast-iron and some insulation. In this type of range, all of the heating elements were sealed in airtight containers to prevent them from burning out. Electric cookers relied on the "Bastian heater," or a wire spiral contained inside a quartz tube. An improvement on this concept, the Dowsing Electric Fire with sausage lamps, featured resistance wires of nickel and chromium that heated without oxidization. Early electric cooking overloaded circuits and was not efficient until power companies were able to supply more electricity to homes.

Eventually, tabletops, cabinets, and drawers were added to gas-burning stoves, which transformed the devices into "kitchen furniture." Because of the gas stove, cooking utensils evolved from wood to heavy cast iron and tin to lightweight aluminum, tempered glass, and ceramic. By the 1920s, gas ranges were made of white porcelain enamel. Within a decade, they were produced in decorative colors to match other kitchen appliances and cabinetry. Gas ranges helped revolutionize cooking, making it more sanitary and time saving.

Some consumers favored gas ranges over electric ovens because food could be cooked faster on a gas range, and gas ovens did not interfere with other electrical appliances. A gas range also left no residual heat. On the other hand, an electric range did not need to be lit and offered features like an automatic oven timer.

In 1945 Percy L. Spencer, a researcher at Raytheon Co., invented the microwave oven. Spencer looked for a way to cook by radio waves. It was not until he was working around a magnetron that he discovered that a candy bar melted in his pocket although he had not felt any heat. He placed Indian corn in front of the magnetron and witnessed kernels popping.

Spencer later added a cabinet with trays to the machine and created the first "radarrange." Microwave ovens were used commercially before entering the home cooking market. Raytheon and Litton Industries Inc., both defense contractors, tried to sell microwave ovens in the United States without much success. Most consumers thought it was unnecessary to use a microwave in addition to a gas or electric range.

The Japanese were among the first big manufacturers of microwave ovens, in part because the appliances fit the Japanese lifestyle. Japanese cooking required reheating, and since most Japanese houses and kitchens were small, microwave ovens were the perfect space savers. Japan exported microwaves to the United States in the 1970s, and within five years, the market had swelled to 2.2 million microwaves. U.S. appliance manufacturers began promoting microwave ovens again in the late 1970s, but by that time, the Japanese controlled 25 percent of the market.

Samsung and other Korean manufacturers entered the U.S. market during the early 1980s by supplying merchandisers like J.C. Penney Company Inc. with inexpensive microwave ovens. U.S. manufacturers eventually began producing microwave ovens that would compete directly with imported models.

Americans soon began to perceive microwave ovens as an adjunct to the kitchen. Microwave ovens could reheat leftover food and frozen items quickly, cleanly, and conveniently. However, studies in the late 1980s showed that gas or electric convection ovens were still used to prepare the main meal or to cook meals from scratch. By the mid-1990s, more than 90 percent of U.S. households had a microwave, and nearly 9 million microwave ovens were being shipped annually.

Sales of major appliances peaked in 1987 with 38 million units sold, but the industry endured a slowdown during the early 1990s. Overall product shipments of appliances grew 3 percent in 1993 to $17.7 billion, while housing starts only increased about 4 percent during the same period, according to the 1994 U.S. Industrial Outlook. Household cooking equipment represented an estimated $3.3 million worth of shipments, or about 20 million units in 1993.

In the mid-1990s, cooking appliance trends continued to emphasize cleanability, convenience, and sophisticated design, with a growing concern for energy efficiency. Major manufacturers focused on improving the overall product with new engineering. Consumers were becoming interested in convection cooking appliances like wall ovens. Improvements in technology were helping gas ranges compete with electric ranges and microwave ovens. In addition, glass "cook tops" that covered burners and electric coil eyelets became popular, as well as microwave and conventional oven combinations that saved space and were more energy efficient than separate units.

Total industry shipments grew consistently throughout the 1990s and into 2000, increasing from $3.52 billion in 1997 to $4.09 billion in 2000. The cost of materials over this time increased from $1.79 billion to $2.24 billion, reaching $3.47 billion in 2006.

There were 24 establishments whose primary product was electric household cooking equipment, including microwave ranges, ovens, and surface cooking units. This segment shipped $2 billion worth of merchandise, spent $999 million on materials, and invested $66 million in capital expenditures. It employed 9,106 people and had a payroll of $269 million. The largest shipment values in this segment originated in Tennessee.

There were 10 establishments whose primary products were gas household ranges, ovens, surface cooking units, and equipment, including parts and accessories. This segment shipped $394 million in merchandise, spent $264 million on materials, and invested $19 million in capital expenditures. It employed 2,980 people with a payroll of $69 million. As with the electric household cooking equipment segment, the largest value of shipments in this segment originated in Tennessee.

There were 35 companies whose primary products were other types of household ranges and cooking equipment. This segment shipped $1.1 billion in merchandise, spent $489 million on materials, and invested $33 million in capital expenditures. It employed 5,140 people with a payroll of $128 million. The largest value of shipments in this segment originated in California, followed by New York.

As more companies conducted business via the Internet, some appliance manufacturers tailored their sites to provide information to customers without undermining the dealers who sold those appliances at retail outlets. For example, Whirlpool Corp. set up more than 3,000 customized pages on the World Wide Web for the use of its dealers. In 1999 Whirlpool launched an interactive site on the Internet where visitors could experiment with the company's products in a virtual three-dimensional kitchen, design kitchens with a selection of Whirlpool appliances and customized floor plans, and research technical information about the company's merchandise. During the late 1990s and early years of the first decade of the 2000s, consumers tended to conduct research, often on the Internet, before they invested in major appliances.

In another innovative Internet venture, Whirlpool owned a 37 percent interest in Brandwise.com, a site where consumers could search a vast database to determine which appliances and prices best suited their needs. The site was unusual because it provided consumers with information about appliances made by various companies, not only Whirlpool, and it also offered the data for sale to Whirlpool's competitors. By sponsoring the service, Whirlpool gained access to valuable marketing data about people who visited the site, allowing it to design products better suited to the needs of its customers.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that of household cooking equipment shipped by the entire industry, electric ranges comprised about $1.6 billion while gas ranges accounted for only $130 million in 2006. The electric appliances included ranges, ovens, surface cooking units, and equipment, in addition to parts and accessories for ranges and ovens, such as burners, oven racks, and broiler pans. The largest product segment in this industry was outdoor barbecues/grills, which generated nearly $4 billion.

Growth in the appliance industry was continuing into the middle of the first decade of the 2000s and was expected to increase even further due to continued consumer spending on homes, as well as increased in housing starts. Higher-end offerings were showing the largest growth in the middle of the decade, as "smart" technology was showing up in everything from microwaves to convection ovens to dual fuel ranges. Features like induction, halogen, sealed burners, solid black glass and ceramic cooktops, and downdraft and radiant heating techniques also were in demand.

The global economic recession at the end of the first decade of the 2000s caused a decrease in earnings throughout the industry. Total shipments generated $4.86 billion in 2006, decreased to $4.61 billion in 2007, and then dropped significantly to $3.6 billion in 2008.

Current Conditions

The industry generated an estimated $4.1 billion in revenues for 2010, while gross profit was approximately 22.6 percent. The United States imported $3.5 billion in household cooking appliances from 67 countries. In addition, the United States exported $7 billion in household cooking appliances to 129 countries. Total U.S. consumption of household cooking appliances was $6.9 billion in 2010.

Demand for household cooking equipment was far from lackluster at the end of the first decade of the 2000s, a result of the global economic recession. Although household cooking equipment manufacturers shipped more than 16.5 million units in 2010, that figure was well below the nearly 19.2 million units shipped in 2008. Of the 16.5 million units, 4.4 million units were electric ranges while nearly 2.8 million units constituted gas ranges. In addition, there were 9.3 million microwave ovens shipped in 2010, while 11.3 million microwave ovens were shipped in 2008.

Industry leader Whirlpool Corp. planned to downsize its workforce by more than 5,000 employees, about 1,200 of whom were salaried employees. By mid-2012 Whirlpool planned to consolidate its Fort Smith, Arizona, operation into other manufacturing plants in North America. Chairman and CEO Jeff M. Fettig told Appliance Magazine in October 2011 "�we experienced weaker than expected global industry demand and elevated material costs," adding that "We are taking necessary actions to address a much more challenging global economic environment." Whirlpool stated further steps will follow to "enhance organizational efficiency" in both North America and Europe. Whirlpool's target was to cut its production by about 6 million units.

Industry Leaders

As the world's largest manufacturer of various major appliances, Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, Michigan, dominated the household cooking equipment industry. In 2008 the company had some 70,000 employees and sales of $18.9 billion. For 2010 the company reported net sales of $18.4 billion with a workforce of 71,000 employees. The company was the primary supplier of household cooking ranges sold under the Kenmore brand name at retail outlets of Sears, Roebuck & Co. Whirlpool also made household cooking equipment under the Whirlpool and Kitchen Aid brand names. The company's marketing strategy has been to produce specific appliances to serve a widening global consumer base. For example, in Africa Whirlpool sold a 42-inch oven large enough to cook a whole sheep or goat.

General Electric Consumer & Industrial sold household cooking equipment under the GE, Hotpoint, and Profile brand names. The company had 70,000 employees and sales of $15.5 billion in 2006.

Maytag International Inc. (formerly Maytag Corp.) of Schaumburg, Illinois, had sales of $33 million in 2006. The company was purchased by Ripplewood Holdings in 2005. Maytag's marketing strategy emphasized its product features and their benefits to consumers.

Workforce

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 15,392 people were employed in this industry in 2007, down from the 16,409 employees in 2006. The vast majority of employees (12,697) were production workers who earned less than $341 million in wages.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

News and information about Household Cooking Equipment

Research and Markets Adds Report: North America Household Induction Cooktops Market (2017 - 2023)
Entertainment Close-up; December 8, 2017; 538 words
...appliances has been contributing to the growth of household induction cooktops market. Automatic operation in household cooking equipment has been a great success in gaining consumer's attention all over the world. Market participants have been...
Research and Markets Adds New Report: North America Household Induction Cooktops Market (2017 - 2023)
Food & Beverage Close-Up; December 11, 2017; 507 words
...appliances has been contributing to the growth of household induction cooktops market. Automatic operation in household cooking equipment has been a great success in gaining consumer's attention all over the world. Market participants have been...
Research and Markets Offers Report: North America Household Induction Cooktops Market
Entertainment Close-up; December 16, 2017; 504 words
...appliances has been contributing to the growth of household induction cooktops market. Automatic operation in household cooking equipment has been a great success in gaining consumer's attention all over the world. Market participants have been...
Feeder and Service Load Calculations, Part 4
EC&M Electrical Construction & Maintenance (Online Exclusive); December 22, 2015; 388 words
...phase or 5-wire 2-phase systems, multiply this number by 140%. A feeder or service supplying permanent household cooking equipment and electric dryers can use an additional demand factor of 70% [220.61(B)(1)]. You can't apply...
Research and Markets Offers Report: 2013 U.S. Major Appliance Manufacturing Industry-Industry and Market Report
Entertainment Close-up; October 30, 2012; 606 words
...Manufacturing 100 percent comparable to SIC 3632 - Refrigerators and freezers Manufacturing Sub-Industries: - Household cooking equipment - Indoor cooking equipment - Convection ovens, including portable: household - Electric ranges, domestic...
Table 6. Producer price indexes and percent changes for commodity and service groupings and individual items, not seasonally adjusted.(Part 2)(Table)
PPI Detailed Report; November 1, 2010; 700+ words
...cooking units & parts 1241-0105 Gas household cooking units and related parts and accessories 1241-0139 Other household cooking equipment, (excluding electric & gas), including outdoor equipment 1241-0169 Household laundry equipment and parts...
Table 6. Producer price indexes and percent changes for commodity and service groupings and individual items, not seasonally adjusted.(Part 2)(Statistical table)
PPI Detailed Report; January 1, 2011; 700+ words
...cooking units & parts 1241-0105 Gas household cooking units and related parts and accessories 1241-0139 Other household cooking equipment, (excluding electric & gas), including outdoor equipment 1241-0169 Household laundry equipment and parts...
Work Daze: If Another Unflattering Cleveland Ranking Has You Down, Don't Worry, Be Happy
Inside Business; March 1, 2013; 700+ words
...of Cleveland at Forbes.com, this is what 1 found: "Cleveland is home to several industries, including household cooking equipment, textiles, furniture, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and automotive parts. Cleveland State Community College...

Search all articles about Household Cooking Equipment