The sprint to the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago kicks into gear when Ambiente wraps up this week in Frankfurt.
The Housewares Show (March 7-10) will culminate what for many in this business has been a busy, compressed winter trade show schedule.
The big question at every trade show big and small this year— and every year— ultimately boils down to “What’s new?”
Buyers ask marketers. Marketers ask product developers. Product developers ask factories. Everybody asks trade editors.
We do our best to oblige.
Our editorial team will present, as it does every year, the most comprehensive coverage of what’s new from the industry at the Home + Housewares Show— beginning with this special pre-show edition of HomeWorld Business (February 16) and running through our March 2 national show issue and March 8 & 9 show dailies.
I’s a fairly simple question. One would think the answer would be, too.
But the answer is not always so obvious, especially if the primary objective of those asking is to discover the next blockbuster new product destined to carry a category and an industry on its back.
Those are the exceptions. This is an industry more often carried by a collective of evolutionary product development across multiple categories than it is by a single revolutionary breakthrough, although the latter surely is a boon when it occurs.
The housewares industry has thrived, actually, on its ability to string together subtle, yet meaningful, improvements year after year while everyone waits for the next big thing. New product progress in smaller steps might not seem as exciting as creating something that exclaims a big leap in innovation. But it is the methodology for reliable growth at which this industry has become quite deft.
Hundreds of pages of HomeWorld Business will be devoted to coverage of products to be introduced at the International Home + Housewares Show. It is a credit to the industry there are so many genuinely new products to chronicle.
Some have the potential to break through as bona fide game changers. Most will showcase subtler advancements in design, utility and value— the type of development tasked to carry much of the everyday load for this business.
Judging new products only by their potential to revolutionize a marketplace could disappoint more often than not. Embracing the evolutionary intricacy of product development in this business often results in a longer-term payoff.
The question can’t be answered clearly until all the shows are shopped and all the introductions are evaluated.
But if you know what to look for— and there’s plenty— the answers should become more obvious.