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Each year, over 60,000 visitors and some 2,200 exhibitors descend on McCormick Place in Chicago to learn everything there is to know about housewares. This year’s theme was “It’s SMart,” highlighting not only the importance of new smart home elements, but also how housewares are at the intersection of technology and style.
Our buyers are always among the attendees, and for good reason, as Hinda’s Director of Merchandising, Jim Valenti points out, “Housewares are an incredibly important category for incentive, recognition and loyalty programs. Electronics get the hype and lots of attention, but housewares are really the sleeping giant. They consistently account for over a third of all redemption in programs.”
The recurring theme of the 2019 housewares show was the connected home with all the smart items. But Hinda buyer, Chelsea Piereth, also noticed an interesting undercurrent, “One of my biggest takeaways was a trend toward items serving more than one purpose. Luggage that can charge your phone. Coolers with blue tooth speakers in them. These items are just perfect for millennials or for anyone who lives on the go with smartphone in hand.”
Housewares covers lots of ground from small appliances to massage chairs to cookware to dinnerware and even to new personal robots. Over $350 billion is spent worldwide each year on the category with U.S. accounting for about 25%. But why is it such an important category in the incentive industry?
“There’s always people at a point in their life where they’re starting a new household or replacing an old vacuum cleaner,” says Wendy Reed, Hinda Sr. Buyer and Household Category leader. “Everyone wants the best items for their home, but people are often shocked at the prices of quality or the innovative products they really want like a new Dyson® or a Roomba® Robot vacuum. So, they delay their purchases. When they see they can get it as a reward, they splurge on what they really want but weren’t willing to buy for themselves because they saw it as extravagant.”
Wendy went on to explain how housewares are great reward for programs as well, “Think about it, most housewares are durable items. You’re going to keep a set of dishes or a small appliance for a very long time, and you’re going to use them every day. That’s a tremendous and continual reminder of your program. That’s why housewares are so important to incentive and loyalty programs, and that’s why you’ll always find us at the Chicago housewares show.”