Product trends going into the fourth quarter should not change radically from last year’s period, with pet products and items that let consumers do more at home prominent, or so the just-held Holiday Gift Guide Show press preview suggested. Still the preview, organized by Propel Media Events, did incorporate innovations and new twists that should enliven the holiday selection for gift givers.
Hammacher Schlemmer demonstrated how innovation on the entertaining at home theme could deliver a novel gift. The company has developed an indoor marshmallow toaster that brings the fun of outdoor barbecues and fire pits indoor during inhospitable seasons. The heating unit is enclosed securely and a surrounding tray incorporates compartments that can hold marshmallows or related items such as graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores. Retail price is $69.95.
Also evident at Hammacher Schlemmer was the trend toward turning smart phone and other portable audio accessories into something like décor items. The company’s Futurist Hand Activated iPhone Speaker looks like a racing rocket but operates smart phone audio with the wave of a hand. Price is $199.95.
Returning to pets, vendors clearly see opportunities in helping consumers live more harmoniously with their critters. Epilady is launching the Flea Zapper at summer’s end, a charged tool that gets rid of pests without the use of chemicals. SRP is $39.95. Wahl is launching a line of pet shampoos and cleaning liquids developed to cut the funk at bath time and in between, with SRPs from $6.99 to $8.99.
The desire to do more at home partly results, of course, from a desire to save money. However, many companies recognize that products that save money but also make user lives a bit brighter have an edge in today’s marketplace. SodaStream has taken off based on those factors and will make its Source product central to holiday efforts, with a range that includes brightly colored plastic- and metal-sided variations, SRP $99.99 and $129.99, with a bamboo-clad model on the way.
With home soft drink prep, and that includes water additives, containers become more important, with consistent innovation emerging from manufacturers. For the holidays, Contigo plans to push its spill-proof products, including the straw-enabled Shake & Go Tumbler, with Autoclose technology that allows users to add a few drops of flavoring and then safely mix with a few flips of the wrist. SRP is $12.99. Another key Contigo holiday product, according to a spokesperson, will be the West Loop Autoseal bottle, SRP $22.99 with and $20.99 without a handle.
New Wave Enviro produces both water filters and containers, as well as lunch kits with soft coolers and BPA-free plastic food storage within. Dan Dettwiler, director of marketing and development, said a water filter is a gift that keeps giving: Give the drinking water filter, SRP $124.99, then give the replacement filter, SRP $69.99, for ensuing holidays and simplify shopping.
To make cooking at home easier, holiday featured food prep from Browne include the Cuisipro Surface Glide Technology Graters and the Nogent Expert Series Chef’s Knife, which comes with micro-serrated, never sharpen cutting edges and multiple handle color options. SRP $19.99.
With more activity at home, cleaning becomes more imperative, and Black & Decker is offering the 2-in-1 Smart Select Mop with Handle Command, a three-floor dial that helps consumers properly clean, to the tune of killing up to 99% of germs on various hardwood surfaces using just tap water. The SRP $139.99 product is driven by a detachable steam chamber attached to a handle that makes it applicable for bathroom tile and stall cleaning, among other uses.