The 20th Annual HomeWorld Forecast arrives with this week’s October 1 edition.
It’s a milestone best attributed to a housewares industry whose steadfast support of this special report has made it one of the most anticipated resources by our retail and supplier readership year after year.
It tells us the mission of the inaugural HomeWorld Forecast stands the test of time. “It is intended to provide insight into existing categories of business, and also to highlight new, emerging businesses,” I wrote then. “Time after time, retailers and manufacturers can find within this exhaustive research clear indications of yet untapped opportunities and new product segments to build their future business.”
Launched when consumer housewares purchase intent data was not nearly as accessible as it might be in today’s market of online survey platforms, the HomeWorld Forecast continues to set the standard for in-depth, reliable foresights on how consumers plan and shop for a full slate of housewares classifications.
HomeWorld Business has always gone extra lengths to provide clearer vision to the housewares business by investing in no less than 2,000 consumer responses to questions in each of 16 categories tracked by the Forecast survey. The demographically balanced respondents are selected from a deep pool of prospects managed by NPD Group, which has fielded the extensive survey for HomeWorld the past several years.
The core of that methodology has remained secure through every Forecast survey, enabling the report to serve up a comprehensive checklist against which retailers and manufacturers can assess consumer hot spots in housewares with precision to shape more productive assortments and promotions.
Much has changed since the first Forecast survey was fielded. Now-extinct retailers such as Service Merchandise, Ames and Lechters were routinely cited then among the stores consumers expect to shop for housewares. Amazon was not to be found among the retail preferences. It’s no surprise considering 90.6% of the Forecast respondents reported at the time they had not shopped on the Internet for housewares. And 55.4% of the respondents said they didn’t even have Internet access at home or office.
Even so, the more some things change, the more some stay the same.
Underlying consumer values, as revealed by the original Forecast’s examination of fastest-growing and emerging categories, have remained remarkably stable— including a willingness to trade up to better design and performance; a quest for healthier living; and an insistence on convenience and time savings.
That such current trend toppers as smart appliances and health monitors were featured among emerging housewares categories in the debut HomeWorld Forecast supports the prognostic potential of this informative annual report.
It’s enough to make you wonder which foresights from this year’s HomeWorld Forecast we will still be writing about in our next milestone edition.