The just-concluded 2018 International Home + Housewares Show is garnering rave reviews from the industry with an overall sentiment that the quality of top-to-top buyer and seller attendees was the strongest in years. The Show was sold-out with 2,244 exhibitors from 47 countries and featured a focus on the smart home and connected products.
“Even with the impact of the East Coast weather differential on Tuesday, we are very pleased with buyer attendance as 99 percent of the top 200 domestic retailers registered to attend, and international attendance was very close to last year’s record number,” said Phil Brandl, president & CEO of the not-for-profit International Housewares Association, which owns and operates the Show. “In addition, senior-level attendance from both retailers and suppliers was particularly strong. Many of our well-known veteran exhibitors expressed that it was their best Show ever in terms of meeting with top executives from retailers and the quality of those meetings.”
Along with the positive buyer attendance, Brandl said exhibitors also noted fewer trade guests walking the Show due to enforcement of IHA’s new policy of charging for companies wanting to sell goods or services to exhibitors. This policy enhanced the quality of the visitors to exhibitors’ booths, he added.
This year saw a growing focus on smart and connected products with the IHA Smart Home Pavilion expanded to 28 new and current exhibitors displaying emerging technologies and the latest in smart and connected products, along with the addition of the Smart Talks stage and the Smart Bar, where attendees could relax and network with colleagues. The Smart Talks stage featured 30-minute sessions led by established experts who discussed food trends, data security for businesses and consumers and tracking capabilities of product packaging, along with innovators offering new retail models for reaching consumers and strategies for developing and managing data-driven connected products and their services. The sessions were live-streamed on IHA’s website and can be viewed here.
“All in all, the 121st International Home + Housewares Show was a successful marketplace for the industry,” Brandl said.
The inaugural Trending Today Preview joined the New Exhibitor Preview on Saturday morning to give buyers and media an opportunity to see 150 exhibitors before the Show floor opened at 10 a.m. The events attracted nearly 700 buyer and media attendees, increasing attendance over last year. Trending Today spotlighted “A Marketplace for Hydration” and hosted 60 new and current exhibitors of hydration and hydration-related products. The New Exhibitor Preview featured 90+ first-time exhibitors.
“Response from the buyers is very positive about both pre-Show events, and we anticipate attendance to continue growing as more buyers want to begin their day earlier,” Brandl said.
Media attendance included a significant increase in high-quality bloggers and social media influencers. Show coverage included an in-studio segment on NBC’s Today Show, internet media articles, home-focused YouTube channels and influencers, and live remotes by Chicago TV stations and QVC. Other major media attendees included America’s Test Kitchen, Better Homes and Gardens, BRIDES, CBS’ The Talk, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, CNET, Consumer Reports, Fine Cooking, HGTV Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Hearst Design Group, Hearst Lifestyle Group, The Kitchn.com, Mergermarket, O—The Oprah Magazine, Rachael Ray Every Day, Taste of Home, Techlicious, Traditional Home, USA Today/Reviewed.com and Xinhua News Agency. The Show will generate in excess of 375 million consumer impressions through broadcast, print and Internet coverage and social media communication.
The Show also included a series of thought-provoking educational sessions, including keynote programs on color and design trends by Lee Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute; a panel of thought leaders discussing the smart kitchen; exploration of the retail renaissance by Tom Mirabile of Lifetime Brands; and a retail panel examining innovation and marketing with consumer needs led by Maureen Azzato and Allison Zisko of HFN. In addition, the Innovation Theater offered 21 presentations on the smart home and connected products; age and gender marketing; and international retail and consumer lifestyle trends. Audio and video recordings of the educational sessions are available here.
The 2019 International Home + Housewares Show will be held March 2-5 at McCormick Place, Chicago USA. 2019 attendee registration and additional Show information are available at www.housewares.org.
The International Housewares Association is the 80-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$355.4 billion at retail worldwide in 2016 ($87.1 billion at retail in the U.S.). The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world’s premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at www.housewares.org and group buying discounts on business solutions services.