Publishers everywhere rejoiced when the results came in that cookbooks sales for 2016 came in 6% ahead of the 2015 numbers, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks roughly 80% of global print sales. As well they should. This was on the heels of a steady decline that began in 2008. Industry leaders knew they had to shake things up in the cookbook industry, so they shifted from the traditional text-based models with supplemental photos to glossy full-colour pieces which tantalise the eye. This progressive decision proved to be wise for many. Despite the promising numbers, sales have still not recovered entirely. A more cohesive distribution plan is needed in order to engage the audience and secure growth.
1. 46% Of Women Ages 55 & Up Have Changing Attitudes Towards Cookbooks
If you’re a publisher, you already likely know your demographics, and you are probably aware that attitudes towards cookbooks are changing. According to research presented by the Telegraph, almost 46 per cent of women ages 55 and older feel that cookbooks are losing their appeal. The trend is not particularly startling. By this age, many women already have a collection of options their families know and love, so they experiment less. As women have traditionally moved on from cookbooks, they have historically been replaced by younger generations. In a connected world, however, millennials consider the internet their first port of call when searching for recipe ideas.
2. 59% of Millennials Use their Mobile Devices While Cooking
Generational trends mean everything to the savvy marketer, which is why taking note of changing attitudes towards cookbooks is important for publishers in creating a strong marketing strategy. With this in mind, the focus must shift to those newest to the kitchen - Millennials and Generation Z. 59% of 25 to 34-year-olds keep their smartphones and tablets with them in the kitchen, while their slightly older counterparts still search online, but print out the recipes, per Google. If this seems like a dramatic shift, it’s nothing compared to what we can expect of Generation Z, or those who are, at most, 22-years-old now. By 2020, this will be 40% of the consumer base, and the group has an average attention span of just eight seconds. Data gathered by Sparks & Honey suggests this is the result of the info-based culture they are being raised in. They’re digital natives who naturally sift through information quickly and prefer their data in bite-sized pieces.
3. 36% of Women Check for Recipes Online Before Looking Anywhere Else
The study presented by the Telegraph also revealed that more than one-third of women check the net before going anywhere else when they need inspiration in the kitchen. Undoubtedly, the vast majority finds what they’re looking for and the search is over long before pursuing the bookshelf at their local shop. In other words, publishers that haven’t made the switch are potentially giving up their fair share of this market.
It’s Time to Adapt
Since more than 40% of the potential cookbook audience is shifting towards online recipes, and expect them to be in small easily-digestible portions, the time has come for publishers to adapt. Whilst physical cookbooks still have a place in the hearts and homes of many, the new wave demands progress. The advancement of smart technology offers cookbook publishers the opportunity to engage with consumers in a compelling and personalised way. Voice technology, too, is paving the way for exciting expansion in the cookbook industry. 51% of Amazon Alexa users keep their device in the kitchen. Far from being the enemy of the cookbook industry, technology is creating refreshing new opportunities for publishers. They just need to adapt.