The U.S. housewares business enters this week expecting reports of a robust Thanksgiving weekend, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season… even though the season now shifts into full gear the day after Halloween.
That earlier start is the price of progress in the digital commerce age, where the accelerating race for share of the consumer spend keeps shattering retail traditions.
Home For Holidays
With that, housewares marketers and merchants should delight in The NPD Group’s forecast that one in three shoppers plans to buy home products this holiday season… with more attention on practical and healthy products, as well as convenience and entertaining. Innovation is also high on consumer wish lists, according to NPD.
These are housewares sweet spots. Then again, they always have been.
I am reminded of that each year when I get the privilege of observing housewares designers and retailers in action the week before Thanksgiving judging the annual Housewares Design Awards competition.
Their diligent, hands-on approach to evaluating every entry— and their palpable satisfaction when a product presents exceptional design— is further proof that through all the disruptive change in today’s vexing retail business, the housewares industry’s longstanding mission remains unbroken and undeterred. That mission: Evolve steadily and inventively— breaking though occasionally with radical innovation— to improve people’s lives.
It is a mission, and this can’t be stressed enough, non-exclusive to any price level. The competition judges and rewards, for example, kitchen tools retailing for less than $10 with the same consideration and enthusiasm as high-end countertop appliances retailing in the hundreds of dollars.
Meaningful design reveals real value, which is what something is worth, not simply what it costs.
And real life, not an inventor’s flash of genius or a marketer’s persuasive spin, ultimately decides whether product design wins or loses. The Housewares Design Awards purposefully accepts only products readily available for consumer consumption. What good is honoring prototypes or pre-production models that, while possibly bound for sales glory, might never make it off an assembly line?
Go to HomeWorldBusiness.com for a list of this year’s Housewares Design Awards finalists. Winners will be announced January 29, 2019, at a special awards celebration during the winter Las Vegas Market, host partner of the competition presented by HomeWorld Business and sponsored by Whitford Corp. Get ticket info at HousewaresDesignAwards.com.
This year’s finalists, along with so many of the competing entries, are real, market-ready solutions that embody current trends and preferences expected to be so vital to retail sales this holiday season and beyond.
But that’s the story each year with a housewares business built from a tradition of unstoppable design progress; of ingenuity perpetually aligned to personal and family needs and desires; and of transparency when it comes to presenting real value.
All to make people’s lives better.
Some traditions can’t be shattered.