Smart kitchens: Dealers rush to satisfy Kenyan appetite as demand increases


There has been talk of kitchens becoming smarter, with appliances controlled remotely by smartphones. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

For years, there has been talk of kitchens becoming smarter, with appliances controlled remotely by smartphones.

Now Kenyans' appetite for these high-tech kitchen appliances has grown, forcing developers and homeowners to sell homes with shell kitchens where smart gadgets can be fixed permanently on the countertops or walls.

The inbuilt, high-tech home appliances market is growing at a high speed, attracting investors in the Kenyan market. Among these are Bosch, Newmatic, Beko, Kaiser, and Haier.

Liz Mukige, the showroom manager at Bosch Home Appliances says that the company which began operations in 2019, has seen an increase in sales, although the business fluctuates with economic growth.

“The business has been on and off. Just like any other, some months are good and others low. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our operations but we are back again,” she says, adding, "We now serve clients ranging from 10 to 20 people per month."

The company mostly serves middle-class and upmarket clients.

“Middle-class homeowners would pick Beko, Mica, and Von. We also deal with up-market brands such as Kaiser and AAG,” she says.

The rising demand is being fuelled by the fact that smart appliances can be controlled through phones.

Users get to set the temperature, mode, and time for ovens, especially if occupied in another room and need to preheat the oven.

“You can control the temperatures, switch off your cooker, oven or microwave through your phone,” says Ms Mukige.

Rodgers Tumo, a marketing executive at Newmatic, a Singapore company that manufactures built-in kitchen appliances says what is also fuelling the demand is that the technologies are eco-friendly, energy-saving and modern.

Using an app, users, for instance, can know the internal temperatures of both the refrigerator and freezer, as well as whether they are in energy-saving mode.

"You also don’t have to keep shifting the position of your kitchen appliances every now and again,” he says.

The price range of these appliances is between Sh19,000 to Sh200,000 depending on the model and the functionality.

Cecil Obongo who lives in Nairobi's Kileleshwa is among those who have shifted from traditional kitchen appliances.

“I have a three-year-old daughter. She runs around the house touching everything. With this new technology, I am assured that my daughter is safe,” she says.

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