13 Trends Seen At The 2016 Home + Housewares Show

From small space living, to healthy living and the growth of the home bar experience, housewares suppliers throughout the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show once again showed a host of new items designed to meet the needs of today’s consumers.

With the annual trade event now complete, the editors at HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® identified 13 trends seen at the Chicago Home + Housewares Show.

Small space living: A number of kitchen electrics suppliers showcased new items that are designed to use less countertop space while also making smaller amounts of food. Vendors said the new items target Millennials and Baby Boomers that are living in smaller homes.

K-Cup-less single-serve: A handful of coffeemaker suppliers presented new single-serve units that do not use K-Cups, and are equipped with filter baskets that allow consumers to use ground coffee. Suppliers said this gives coffee drinkers greater control over the taste of their coffee while still having the convenience of single-serve.

Cast iron is continuing to be a force: Companies are either expanding or introducing cast iron cookware in order to keep up with consumer demand. Suppliers said the continued growth stems from consumers realizing that cast iron is a quality product, can be used on any cooking surface, is oven-to-table ready and is made from natural materials. New pre-seasoning and treatment capabilities make the cast iron easier for consumers to use and care for. 

Oven-to-table: Consumers are looking for cookware that can be used in the oven to make their favorite dishes, but that can also go straight to the table to act as serving pieces. This allows consumers to cut back on time spent washing dishes and cleaning up after a meal.

Color and design: Splatter/speckled prints that are upgraded from the looks of yesteryear, as well as bold colors and metallics, are prevalent in cookware. Variations of copper is also trending in a variety of cookware materials. White designs are also picking up steam in the market with several new introductions across a variety of brands. 

Connectivity: Home environment vendors are making it easy for consumers to stay connected in this digital age as consumer demand for WiFi and Bluetooth enabled devices in the home continues to rise. At this year’s IH+HS, exhibitors offered up connected water filtration systems, air purifiers, heaters and everything in between.

The cleaner clean: Consumers want their cleaning products to be a natural extension of their personal habits, including healthy living lifestyles. IH+HS trends in this category echoed that sentiment with products that feature water-only cleaning, microfiber utilization and spray mops with healthy recipes for cleansers.

Millennials make the difference: The Millennial generation is really starting to show its buying power and personal care vendors have taken notice. Exhibitors unveiled new grooming tools for the long-bearded generation and women ready to spend more to enjoy spa services at home.

Limited space: Space in the home is limited, especially as Baby Boomers are downsizing into smaller living spaces and Millennials are choosing to live in apartments longer before buying a house. Storage vendors responded to this by showcasing multi-functional products that could utilize vertical space, or make the most of underused areas, such as over the door/cabinet or under the bed. Vendors also recognized that many might be struggling with limited closet space, and offered up storage that could live aesthetically within the visible living space.

Farm to table: Kitchenware suppliers are leveraging consumer interest in fresh, local ingredients with tools and gadgets to support the preparation of ingredients such as fresh herbs and spices, trendy vegetables and fruits (such as mango and avocado), as well as techniques that include spiralizing. 

Grocery store merchandising: Several kitchenware vendors have created marketing and merchandising programs to expand their brands into the grocery store channel. Suppliers reported that the grocery store consumer has changed and they now shop supermarkets for items beyond food. As a result, several vendors created specific lines marketed towards grocery stores.

Mixed materials: Vendors, particularly in kitchen tools and cutlery, are delving into more modern designs, featuring mixed materials such as pairing woods and metals, walnut with stainless steel, or wooden items with metallic finishes. New textures and coatings are also popping up among several cutlery brands including black oxide finish and preened blades. 

The home bar: Glass barware and bar tools to help consumers craft homemade cocktails were popular at the Housewares Show. From mixing glasses to glasses designed for consumers to store their own homemade bitters, the category is on the rise. Some say that bartenders from high profile scenes and restaurants will be the next celebrity chefs.