IHA: U.S., Global Housewares Sales On The Rise

The global housewares market increased retail sales 2.9% in 2012 to $314.3 billion, the most recent statistics available, while U.S. housewares expenditures increased 3.3% to $69.3 billion, according to the International Housewares Association’s (IHA) 2013 State of the Industry (SOI) Report.

Every year since 1996, IHA has provided a detailed look into the housewares industry as a strategic service to its members. This annual recap of the industry, a joint effort of IHA and Raftery Resource Network, Inc., includes a compilation of data from the annual IHA annual membership survey and sources such as the U.S. government.

Other key findings from the 2013 SOI report:

• Discount stores and supercenters was the leading retail channel for sales in all housewares categories.

• Non-store retailing represented the second largest share of housewares sales in 2012. E-commerce retail sales continue to post yearly sales gains. When combined, these retail channels – direct to consumer via manufacturer website and catalog/TV and Internet retailers – reached 15% in share of total housewares retail sales in 2012 versus 13.1% in 2011.

• The top four housewares categories in terms of sales for 2012 were cook and bakeware (16.7%), kitchen tools and accessories (12.4%), tabletop (11.8%) and kitchen electrics (11.1%). These four categories accounted for 52%of industry sales, according to IHA.

• The average (mean) size of IHA member companies increased slightly to $21.8 million.

• Most IHA member companies (90%) export products to other countries. Canada, Mexico, Western Europe, Latin America, Australia and Asia are export destinations for at least half of these companies. With the exception of Mexico, exports to those destinations increased.

Throughout the report, “SOI Insights” condense macro trends within the industry. One such insight, for instance, says that while inventory turns may be slowing, the data support the argument that inventory levels are being matched to store sales, which indicates less investment buying by retailers.

Another Insight: As the U.S. housewares business continues to experience retailer consolidation and Internet sales grow among these companies, housewares companies can expect to have fewer purely “brick and mortar” customers.

And, while the slower-paced economy in 2008 and early 2009 helped lower raw materials prices and the mild expansion that followed may have created some optimism about the future of the economy, current sentiment appears to be “wait and see.”

Predictably, healthcare costs continue to add a double inhibitor to housewares businesses — increased operating costs for manufacturers and decreased consumer spending as more employee wages go toward healthcare costs.

Yet, consumers seem to be “loosening their belts” slightly, which could have positive implications for in-home purchases such as housewares, according to the report.

“The data IHA provides in this report gathers information that member companies may not have the time or resources to compile individually,” said Phil Brandl, IHA President. “It’s an important tool that helps our members and our industry identify trends that can impact the way they do business in the near future.”

The 56-page report also offers a list of the top 100 domestic housewares retailers by sales and the top 50 Internet properties in the U.S.