NPD: Simplicity, Convenience Will Drive Consumer Holiday Housewares Buys

Housewares products that are simple, efficient and convenient are expected to be top sellers during the 2014 holiday shopping season, according to NPD, which outlined its 10 Home Holiday gift predictions.

Small electrics are once again expected to be popular with holiday shoppers, as consumers continue to look for the latest products to help prepare meals at home. Other trends including wine and drink options are also expected to influence the buying decisions of shoppers.

“A variety of home products are expected in shopping carts and mailboxes this holiday season, but, as in the past, the majority of purchases are ‘self-gifted’ as consumers take advantage of promotions,” said Debra Mednick, executive director and home industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Consumers are seeking products that bring simplicity, convenience, efficiency, and even inspiration into their homes. In some cases, as they spend more time in their homes, it becomes easier to rationalize spending a little more, whether they consider it a gift for someone else or themselves.”

Among NPD’s gift trend predictions are:

• One for you, one for me. The majority of sales during Q4 for small home appliances and non-electric housewares are for oneself, according to NPD. Small kitchen electrics have the highest rate of gifting during the holiday season – about one-third of all items are purchased as a gift. In this respect, holiday 2014 will not be different than years past.

• Shopping the omnichannel. Online is important, and will drive this holiday season’s growth, but shopping in a store will continue to trump the web. Both channels remain critical drivers of success and will need to be more connected than ever before, according to NPD.

• Inspiration outshines aspiration. Consumers continue to trade up in many product categories, but more of the purchase motivation in home categories is coming from a feeling of inspiration – to prepare better foods at home, to set a better table and to find better quality and value overall.

• Set and forget. The convenience, versatility, and comfort food delivered by products like slow cookers and rice cookers continue to be popular with consumers. Social media has played a key role in bringing the ‘old’ slow cooker back to life through inspired new applications. Gluten-free and multi-cultural cooking influences are having a positive effect on the popularity of rice cookers.

• Scratch cooking. Consumers are getting involved in more scratch cooking and baking. Stand mixers, especially with the versatility of optional attachments, and meat mincers/grinders are examples of appliances that address Americans’ desire to take more control of what is prepared and consumed in the home.

• Wholesome at home. Hearty, healthy and wholesome meals are important to consumers, and they want to be able to prepare them at any time of day. Products like waffle makers and sandwich makers simplify this task.

• Drink in the options. Pod machines, blending solutions, electric kettles, coffee cups/mugs, and pod accessories are multi-functional in their ability to help perk up, warm up or provide a little indulgence and perhaps some additional antioxidants, this holiday season, says NPD.

• Trimming the table. Tabletop linens and placemats in new colors, patterns, or textures give the home a fresh and personal look for the holidays. A new set of wine glasses, either formal or casual, is another way to spruce up the holiday table or enhance giving wine as a gift.

• Clean and simple value. The value proposition of a product that makes cleaning easier gives consumers an excuse to rationalize spending on a premium-priced floor cleaning device such as a robotic vacuum, which can serve as a cool gift or self purchase splurge. Lightweight vacuums are gaining in popularity as a convenient, portable and multi-floor option to help tidy for the holidays and year-round.

• Heavy duty appeal. More consumers have discovered cast iron’s practicality of healthy cooking benefits, the convenience of easy cleanup with pre-seasoned choices and the added benefit of long-lasting durability. Enameled options add color to anyone’s kitchen and the equally attractive, heavy-duty package makes an appealing gift, concluded NPD.