Houseware Trends in Today’s Economy

From on April 03, 2009 in Remodeling News

redbowl.gifA panel of experts today at the 2009 International Home + Housewares Show said that the most important trends at work in the consumer marketplace are:

  • Respecting Generational Divides
  • Living Within Our Means
  • The Live-In Kitchen
  • The Green Kitchen
  • The Wellness Kitchen
  • Cooking for Fun

The annual show, which took place in March at McCormick Place in Chicago, featured nearly 2,000 exhibitors from five continents, including more than 400 new companies introducing thousands of new products. The latest housewares industry news is tracked by the producers of the Home + Housewares Show, the International Housewares Association.

The top trend discussed by the panelists was Respecting Generational Divides, and their findings are intriguing. The general population is divvied up into four age groups, with the following descriptions:

  • The Gen Y group is aged 14-33 and is completely connected and wired all day. Most rent an apartment rather than own a home, are still in school, or are just entering the workforce.
  • The GenX group is aged 34-43 and typically is raising a family, so the kitchen is a family communications hub for them.
  • Baby Boomers are aged 44-63 and are either entering the empty-nester phase or are experiencing children and/or parents moving back in with them. This group is going to need to work longer than planned and is the group with the most discretionary income for housewares.
  • Prime Timers (age 64+) are concerned with safe aging-in-place. They want to grow old where they are. They are reinventing themselves, and their focus is on ergonomics and intuitive design.

Recession-proof strategies were presented for all the age groups, because people of all ages are negotiating today’s economy together. Tom Mirabile, vice president of global trend and design at Lifetime Brands, Inc. said, “The recession is changing the way we view cash versus credit. And durability is now more important, in addition to redefining leisure time activities. Household expenses that did not exist 20 years ago, like Internet service, are now considered non expendable, which reduces the money left for housewares and home products.

The Wellness Kitchen trend is affected by the state of the economy, too. It’s all about nutrition, plans to live longer, and an overall commitment to well being. People of all ages are interested in houseware products that deliver maximized nutrition, purified air and water, stress management, effective rejuvenation, and beneficial exercise. There’s a lot of cross-over between the wellness and green trends. Mirabile noted, “Being green is becoming a key factor in the way consumers view companies and each other. Even consumers who aren’t green are getting pressure from their children, parents, and peers at work…green is a huge power.”