Updated: Mar 22
In today's globalized society, it isn't hard to find a million different designs and products at the swipe of a finger. Purchasing products that are known for their international presence and high quality has never been simpler. Yet, in a market where well-known kitchen design companies can thrive, the demand for locally made and sourced products is always present. This begs the question, which is better? Are imported kitchen products better, here we refer to the leading manufacturers from Europe, or should you go local? In this short article, we will start exploring the differences between these two categories and understand which of the two would suit your kitchen interior needs best.
1. Price Points
Most locally sourced kitchen products tend to be more reasonably priced as compared to imported kitchen products. This is because unlike their international counterparts, local manufacturers do not need to bear the additional costs of transportation and other logistic and tariff-based expenses. This makes the pricing a lot more economical while still maintaining quality. The same holds true for manufacturers who import components and then locally assemble kitchen products as well. However, imported products, usually being shipped fully assembled, still manage to attract many buyers who are more than willing to pay the premium price. This is usually due to their long history in the industry and well-established reputation that local brands are yet to build.
Quality is an aspect that exists at the foundation for many international kitchen brands. Many of the imported brands are well known for their guaranteed quality, superiority, technological and mass production-based advancements. This is especially true for kitchens coming from Europe, where all manufacturers have to adhere to strict quality standards in order to get certified by the numerous test institutions that are known to be the highest international standards in the world. This makes imported products more elite in quality as compared to local products. In more recent times, however, local products have been catching up to international standards due to globalization, quality consciousness, heightened competition as well as government support. New ISO and DIN standards as well as other quality control measures, besides bringing on board international human resources, has helped local manufacturers to continuously improve their processes and products.
Goods made in Europe, especially coming from Germany or Italy are most popular because of the sleek aesthetics they bring along. These countries have long history of engineering as well as design that has significant traction in the home and kitchen interior design scene, which is why these products have seen international success across-the-board. On the other hand, locally manufactured products, using European materials and machinery, have the advantage of bringing a unique look to homes as well.
4. Brand Image
Imported kitchen products have the upper hand when it comes to the prestige, status, and exclusivity of their kitchen product brand. Due to large scale marketing campaigns as well as their established international presence, there exists a high level of trust placed on the quality and durability of their products. Brand conscious customers are much more likely to purchase from international manufacturers due to their well-known identities and guaranteed quality. Local kitchen products, though not well known internationally, can develop a dedicated customer base provided that the quality of these kitchen products does not disappoint and that word-of-mouth spreads within the local areas. We believe that service level and general capabilities of the local distributor are key to catch up with the big names.
Customizing kitchen products is next to impossible with imported manufacturers. This is because most imported kitchen products are manufactured with a set design and build. Typically, requesting any kind of customization can be difficult and expensive, if it even is an option. Local kitchen product manufacturers have the upper hand in this situation. Due to the ease of access and limited production scale, it is relatively easier to place a custom order with a local company than it is with international companies. This flexibility is appreciated for custom requirements, especially if it comes to certain cabinet dimensions, materials and color finishes.
6. Delivery Lead Time
Distributors that sell imported quality kitchens from Europe usually have a delivery period of 90 to 120 days as part of their standard terms and conditions. This is usually applicable for any new order after having an approved design and having received an advance payment of min. 50%. As a general breakdown of the timeline, there is usually 4 to 6 weeks allocated for production and logistics planning depending on materials (this is not the actual production time for the kitchen), 3 to 4 weeks for sea transport, 1 to 2 weeks for custom clearance / temporary storage / inspection of goods as well as 1 to 2 weeks for final delivery and installation planning after balance payment has been completed. Here, local kitchen manufacturers score with significantly reduced lead times and flexibility due to their smaller scale production which is appreciated by customers.
If you are looking for more sustainable options, it's best to go local. Going local reduces negative environmental impacts that can otherwise be caused by transportation of products over long distances. In the past few years, however, there has been an increase in international manufacturers engaging in more sustainable practices and joining the movement to reduce their carbon footprint. Many European manufacturers have started the process of sourcing from locally available forestry and have implemented recycling processes resulting in certifications such as FSC and PEFC.
To conclude, there are multiple pros and cons to purchasing local kitchen products as well as imported ones. Preferences relating to price, quality, or brand consciousness should be taken into consideration before choosing which product to purchase. Choosing the best option to reflect your lifestyle and aesthetic can be difficult.
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