Head of Household4 Mar, 2010 By: Patrick Cauley Response
The International Home + Housewares Show reminds the direct response industry every year that there’s a lot more to March besides the madness of college basketball and leprechauns. While some product segments have lagged in the sagging economy, housewares have remained remarkably strong. In its annual categorical review, Response took some time to find out what’s hot, why and how you can strategically get in on the action.
This year’s theme at the Housewares Show is innovation, which is what drives thousands of inventors, retailers, distributors, spectators and more to McCormick Place, Chicago’s premiere convention facility. It’s the chance for the industry to do business, educate and celebrate. And, this year, it seems a celebration is in order.
According to the International Housewares Association’s (IHA) State of the Industry Report, U.S. consumers spent nearly $75 billion on housewares products in 2008. And while U.S. housewares expenditures decreased by three percent from 2007, data gathered from 2009 and early 2010 seems optimistic.
“Consumers are very concerned about simplifying their lives, organizing their homes and eating healthier,” says Perry Reynolds, vice president of marketing and trade for the IHA.
In talking with retailers, Reynolds has found that their business is not only holding up, but seems to be doing better than a year ago. “It’s creating energy in our category. If you look at our business historically, we’re among the first to recover,” he says.
“One of the things happening as the economy has cooled is that consumers stay home. There are a number of indicators that many activities that used to be done outside of the home are now done in the home,” continues Reynolds. For example, there are strong numbers correlating to more coffee being consumed in-home instead of out.
“Consumers are baking at home and more meals are prepared and eaten at home now than two years ago,” says Reynolds. In fact, the top three housewares categories for 2008 were cook and bakeware, kitchen tools and accessories, and tabletop. (see bar chart below)