Many in the housewares industry received a welcome break this winter from the virtually back-to-back sequence of Frankfurt’s Ambiente and Chicago’s International Home + Housewares Show during recent years.
But with the 2017 Housewares Show landing in the latter half of March (March 18-21), vendors at Ambiente in early February can take advantage of the precious extra time to fine-tune their Chicago presentations. And U.S. retailers that attended Ambiente can digest their Frankfurt previews more thoroughly to hit Chicago running with a more detailed game plan.
Extra preparation for this year’s Home + Housewares Show should take on a more determined purpose. This is not a time to count appointments held and business cards collected as a measure of the show’s success.
The industry needs to emerge from the show with more clarity and directional precision in a difficult-to-predict market. Beyond a course for new products, the quantity and quality of which should not disappoint hard-shopping buyers in Chicago, there is much to try to pin down sooner than later.
This industry is sorting through the implications of proposed border and punitive tariffs (which the IHA and other trade groups have begun to protest with good cause); potential Q2 disruptions caused by Chinese stainless steel and corrugated shortages; the swift downsizing of big brick-and-mortar operators, amplified by rumors of a possible Macy’s sale; Amazon’s escalating leverage amid talk of more demanding vendor agreements; and the threat of counterfeit product proliferating in a seemingly unapologetic e-commerce web.
All that and more will be on the table, as if the industry doesn’t have its hands full enough trying to manage product development, marketing and distribution platforms that meet the demanding expectations of a marketplace that has placed more controls in the hands of consumers.
On that note, I look forward to participating in the 2017 Top Trends forecast at the Housewares Show presented by Tom Mirabile, consumer trend forecaster for the IHA and svp/global trend and design for Lifetime Brands. Mirabile’s annual Top Trends session is one of the show’s educational and inspirational highlights.
During this year’s presentation— entitled “Change & Challenge in the Economy of Expectations”— Mirabile will invite me and Susan Yashinski of trend forecaster and innovation consultancy Sphere Trending, to share consumer and B2B insights about what excites and engages today’s purchaser; and to demonstrate how companies can use that knowledge to survive and succeed in a changing, fast-paced market.
Among the trends to be explored are “New Directions in the American Household;” “Rapid Growth of the Creative Class;” “Health Becomes the New Wealth;” “The Reinvention of Value;” and “Consumers Take Control.”
The 2017 Top Trends presentation is set for Monday, March 20, 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the McCormick Place South Grand Ballroom (room S100).
I look forward to seeing everyone in Chicago. Prepare to take full advantage of the show.