Digital Registry Rise Broadens Housewares Gift Potential

NEW YORK— HomeStats, a new consumer purchase tracking service conducted by Design Research, is encouraging retailers and vendors alike to zero in on opportunities to offer even the most basic housewares categories as the potential for a wedding gift, because consumers already seem to be thinking of them in that way.

Since 2015, Design Research through HomeStats has interviewed more than 5,000 consumers each quarter, seeking to identify their purchases in a select number of housewares product categories. HomeStats identifies wedding related purchases and reports them separately from self-purchases. 

“For us, it’s really clear that wedding gifts are really important in the housewares category,” said Richard Babick, president and founder, Design Research. 

Babick noted that one of the key lessons that could be gained from Home-Stat’s findings was that manufacturers are missing the opportunity to offer their higher-end, better quality products, such as food storage and larger packaged sets, as possible registry items that connect with the consumer as potential wedding gifts. 

He related that most manufacturers do not make a reference to weddings on their websites, or even that their housewares product would be good for other gift giving occasions. Babick also noted that aesthetically pleasing packaged sets, even in sundry categories, could present to the consumer an opportunity for gifting.

In certain categories HomeStats tracks, such as personal beverageware and food storage, consumers spent twice as much on a wedding gift as they did for items for themselves. For example, the average self-purchase of a personal beverage container was $14.55 while $31.25 was the average price as a wedding related purchase. In food storage, $14.20 was the average self-purchase price, whereas that number more than doubled when purchased as a wedding gift, at $31.90 on average.

Another important point to HomeStats’ data, according to Babick, is that, “Wedding purchases seem to happen across all categories.”

Drawing from knowledge from his tenure at Design Research, Babick said, “Couples are registering for an increasing number of practical things. Many younger couples in particular are struggling with education debt and saving money by living in smaller spaces and are splurging on and registering for less fringe items.”

He added, “A lot of bridal registration happens online, where product selection is very deliberate.”

The preference of the purchaser toward making wedding related product selections online is reflected in the 2015 HomeStats research.

More than half of consumers in each of the categories that HomeStats tracked in 2015 made their wedding related purchases online. The top two stores selected for wedding purchases for all categories was Amazon (17%) and Bed Bath & Beyond (11.9%). Babick noted that Bed Bath has a top ranking with purchasers because of what he called a strong online presence.

The strong number of online wedding related purchases may also coincide with the strongest demographic making the purchases from those HomeStats surveyed in 2015. On average, 55% of wedding gift purchases were made by Generation Y (ages 18 to 34), which is logical because that generation is in the wedding stage and likely purchasing items for their peers, said Babick. 

In looking at wedding purchases as a percent of the categories’ quarterly sales, second quarter is still the strongest quarter overall, HomeStats data showed. For example 17.2% of cutlery sales were wedding related in the second quarter, 13.9% of cookware sales and 12.2% of beverageware sales. 

The beverageware category, as charted by HomeStats, includes all drinking glasses, from plastic glasses “all the way through Waterford crystal,” said Babick. 

Also worthy of note in the market research, the brightest point for barbecue tools as a bridal gift was during fourth quarter. Wedding related purchases accounted for 10.9% of this category’s sales in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the company’s research.