Housewares Refines Its Craft For 2017

The pursuit of 2017 retail inspiration is already in full gear as the annual flurry of winter trade show activity begins.

It shouldn’t take long for buyers to get a feel for trends and products primed to move this year to the front shelves and home pages of housewares departments.

Little Indulgences

Expect intensifying buzz about wellness and smart home, two segments focused on more practical aspects of life that will intersect frequently in 2017.

But housewares always leaves room for dessert, those little indulgences requiring neither Wi-Fi connections nor fitness trackers.

Indeed, with so much innovation centered on faster, easier and smarter, an enduring appreciation for the personal touch and for personal taste continues to inspire plenty of housewares product development inviting people to soak in the finer things in life.

It is no surprise that the artisanal and hand-crafted movement stoking the food and beverage business, a trend for which the notion of mass marketing once seemed quite contrary, is now moving full speed into the mass housewares market.

The word “craft” should become an amplified housewares descriptor this year as marketers look to capitalize on all the conversation about craft this and craft that. Craft baking. Craft cocktails and spirits. Craft beer. Craft soda. Craft ice cream. Craft tea. And the mother of them all: Craft coffee.

Coffee has provided housewares traffic inspiration for generations. From percolators to drip coffeemakers to automatic espresso machines to single-serve coffeemakers, retailers have relied often on new coffee devices and accessories to anchor their annual housewares sales.

Resurgent Class

An intriguing juxtaposition this year will find new appliance technology marketed to turn anyone into a craft coffee brewer mingling with a resurgent class of time-tested manual brewing methods, such as French press and pour-over. And you’ll have all the requisite tools and beverageware to complete the craft coffee statement.

The craft trend started in opposition to the impersonal homogenization permeating the consumer marketplace. The trend became a refuge for specialized housewares vendors and retailers to distinguish themselves from the commoditization that has afflicted so many businesses.

All Good Things

It was inevitable perhaps that the craft trend caught on to where it crossed into mass marketing.

There is always the risk that a rush to profit from the craft trend oversaturates the marketplace and sends excess product to the clearance shelves prematurely. It has happened, regrettably, with some big prior housewares trends. That’s a worry for another time, though.

For now, the craft movement is an encouraging, enticing development for a housewares business hungry for as much new sales inspiration as it can get.