Home is where the heart is, goes the old saw. But in a digital age, home is in the palm of your hand. The growing sophistication of smartphones and other hand-held devices—combined with the proliferating number of mock-up design applications—now enables consumers to decorate their homes with just a few keystrokes. Ditto for hiring interior decorators. The Web has sparked mass customization, and there are fewer markets that embrace customizing their products as much as home and housewares companies, which encompass furniture, lighting, storage, laundry accessories, personal care, cookery and tableware, among other areas. Brands throughout the space now offer more specialized products and services not only to appeal to people stoked for customization, but for an increasingly health-and-environmentally conscious consumer.

Online communications and social media are spurring consumers to take the reins of home and housewares furnishings. The growth in digital home décor is one of several trends swirling around the home and housewares market, as social media platforms continue to accelerate the buy cycle and make it easier for people to decorate their homes with a personal touch and soup up their kitchens with highfalutin appliances.

NEW MARKET INGREDIENTS

Cookware is boiling hot among consumers. Countertop appliance, designed for convenience and efficiencies for a time-strapped society, are expanding at a rapid clip

For example, Rice Cookers are starting to percolate with buyers, spurred by the gluten-free moment, while stainless steel cookers seem to be having a resurgence as more and more consumers make stainless steel purchases.

“When it comes to purchasing cookware, price has decreased as one of the most important factors and quality has increased, showing that consumers are looking to make an investment in their cookware and will pay more for higher quality,” Homeworld Forecast 2016 said.

New kitchen electrics are also changing tastes. Toasters remain popular, while blenders are picking up speed with consumers due to the growth of high-end blenders, the forecast said. Wither coffee beans for a heavily caffeinated culture? Perhaps. About 20 percent of the respondents to the survey said they would purchase a single-server brewer, down from 22 percent in 2015.

Millennials—or people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—are driving many of the innovations that home and housewares brands are bringing to the marketplace. Seventy-seven million strong, millennials want multi-cookers that can simplify their lives and make it a cinch to create a few meals out of one. They want environmentally correct kitchen appliances that cater to their “green” bona fides and reduce their carbon footprint.  And they are willing to cough up some extra dough for quality products. 

COLOR SCHEMES

“Green”-based home and housewares products are having a growing impact on consumers’ purchasing patterns. But when it comes to the most popular colors used to decorate the home and/or the kitchen, black is the new black, as the traditional tone has a resurgence throughout the marketplace. However, Pantone Inc., an authority on color, chose rose quartz as the color of 2016, followed by serenity blue. Is your brand tapping into those swatches to help inform you product development?
Another major takeaway from the Homeworld forecast to keep in mind: Consumers are more likely to make a bakeware purchase during the next 12 months than they were during the same period in 2015. Specialty bakeware pans, a new addition to the list as of last year, saw the biggest jump in most likely to purchase product, with 24 percent of consumers saying they would be most likely to purchase one in the next year.

Whether it’s baking, sautéing, grilling or refurnishing your media room, copper may likely be a key ingredient in these products and other household items. The metal extract, which is being infused in everything from cookware to lighting fixtures, is expected to take off this year with younger and seasoned consumers alike.

Many of the said trends and products will be under the spotlight at the International Home +Housewares Show 2016, which will take place March 5-8 in Chicago. Exhibitors from 40+ countries, and more than 62,000 total attendees from 125+ countries are expected to attend. For buyers and sellers in the marketplace, it’s must-see viewing.