Housewares Helping Virus-Wary Consumers Shelter At Home

A swift restoration of lagging supply chains could loosen the flow of top-selling and new products in several housewares categories expected to become more important with more people confined to their homes during the health crisis.

Such sheltering behavior is expected by some to continue to some degree long after the coronavirus crisis lifts.

Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for The NPD Group, said retail sales growth of small appliances during the week ending March 7 indicates a consumer focus on cooking and cleaning.

“This is likely to continue as these products offer assistance with living a socially distant and healthy lifestyle,” Cohen said.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) urged government officials to include home appliance production, distribution, retailing and servicing among “essential businesses” to maintain safe, sanitary and otherwise necessary operations of residences.

AHAM president and CEO, Joseph McGuire, stated, “Home appliances, such as ranges and ovens, refrigerators, air cleaners, personal care products, humidifiers and floor care appliances are necessary and essential to the wellbeing and safety of people in their homes. This means that Americans need access to appliances, and to servicing, as needed, for these critical items.”

Katie Sotor, vp of humidifier supplier Crane, noted that the Center for Disease Control recommends use of humidifiers as one of the ways to relieve coronavirus symptoms, including nasal congestion, dry cough and sore throat.

Holly Bohn, vp of Thinkspace Brands and marketer of the See Jane Work brand of home and office workspace organizers, expects the work-from-home surge to create opportunities for home organization suppliers with diversified supply bases prepared to fulfill increasing demand.

“People are at home, they want to get organized and need a functional home office, so storage and office are actually strong,” Bohn said. “We’ve heard from retailers that some manufacturers have not been able to fill orders, and we were able to step in and get those retailers product for important times, such as back to school.”