Goodbye Microwave Oven, and Thanks for All the Popcorn

#Technology

Fri, Mar 21st, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to data examined by Roberto A. Ferdman of Quartz, the microwave oven is slowly dying. Statistics show that "microwave sales have fallen or remained flat every year for nearly a decade in the US," and that health conscious consumers are opting for fresher options that do not require the device.

That broad market penetration is likely one reason that sales have tailed off. Why buy a new microwave if your old one still works? But sales of toaster ovens—which have similar market penetration and product longevity—have boomed since 2000. Last year, shipments of other kitchen appliances rose by nearly 8% while microwave shipments fell another 5%, according to data from market research firm Mintel. And microwaves were already in the vast majority of American households and offices for more than 10 years before their sales topped off.

A bigger factor behind the decline in sales of microwaves is likely that Americans just aren’t using them as much anymore. A shift in eating habits—which favors freshness and quality over speed and convenience—has left a growing number of microwaves dormant on kitchen counters.

“Microwaves have sort of had their day,” says John Owen, a senior industry analyst at Mintel.

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