IHA reconnected with Erika Sirimanne, Euromonitor’s head of home and garden, to learn what she will discuss about Gen Z consumers and their attitudes on sustainability and other concerns at the 2020 Show. The Inspired Home Show’s Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics will include successful retail practices, consumer research findings, digital commerce, sustainability and global market trends.
Euromonitor International is the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research. The company provides data and analysis on thousands of products and services. With offices across the globe, analysts in more than 100 countries and market research on every key trend and driver, Euromonitor offers clients powerful access to the real story behind consumer change and identifies opportunities for emerging countries or developed economies.
Sirimanne is based in Euromonitor’s Singapore office. She has a master’s degree in political economy from Sydney University and has been with Euromonitor since 2011, when she joined the firm to work in research covering Australia and New Zealand. Professional interests include understanding key drivers and consumer behavior within the home and garden space, including housewares, home furnishings, home improvement and gardening. She was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Show and has shared her insights at the Innovation Theater in the past as well.
What is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work?
Being able to engage with home and garden manufacturers and retailers to really understand the impact of changing demographics and digitalization on their businesses. Talking about the importance of an omnichannel strategy is one thing, but implementation can often be complex. It’s rewarding to work with our housewares clients to help them plug information gaps and answer critical business questions.
Can you name a pivotal event or project that impacted your career or company?
Collaborating with my colleague Maria Coronado-Robles (head of sustainability at Euromonitor International) to create our Sustainability in Home and Garden strategic report series. This collaboration made me reframe the sectors (i.e. housewares, furnishings, gardening and home improvement) I cover from a research perspective and helped me identify the key pain points retailers and suppliers face when trying to achieve their own sustainability goals.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you do your work?
A large part of my role involves sharing market and consumer insights with Euromonitor clients. In the last year, client interest in sustainability has increased. More and more home and garden manufacturers and retailers are talking about their sustainability achievements and targets and are keen to understand consumer behavior around this topic as well. Even at Euromonitor we have been trying to create a more sustainable working environment, including reducing plastic use. This has involved a switch to reusable coffee cups rather than disposable ones, bringing in reusable lunch containers and even beach and river cleanups. At the same time, Euromonitor has committed 1% of sales to charitable projects selected by employees.
How do you de-stress and find balance in the demanding 24/7 workplace? Any tips for how to carve out personal time and declutter mind space and desktop?
I think people are always trying to remain productive, even on the weekend, but it’s becoming increasingly important to allow ourselves time to disconnect from work. Personally, I really enjoy reading, which helps me to unwind. Mobile apps like Libby allow me to read virtually everywhere, on the way to work, at lunch etc. I also like heading to the library near my office in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore. It’s a great, bright, calming space, and I can get access to books written by Southeast Asian authors.
From Digital to Sustainable: Gen Z’s Impact on the Future of Housewares
Monday, March 16, 9:30—10:20 a.m.
Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, E350
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how this topic is important for Show audiences.
I will be speaking about Generation Z’s impact on housewares. Generation Z consumers are digitally native, individualistic, open-minded and eco-conscious. By 2030, roughly 659 million households globally will be headed by this cohort. They prioritize sustainability, transparency and experiences. As Generation Z ages, their characteristics and values will shape future families, influence shopping preferences and change the way housewares are used. Retailers and manufacturers need to understand their preferences and behaviors to prepare for the shifts this generation will bring.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
Scrutiny around cookware coatings and food storage materials is definitely building, but at the same time consumers are also mindful of price. The shift away from plastic in food storage towards glass, silicone and metal is evident, while ceramic coatings and cast-iron products are becoming more popular. Furthermore, fragmentation in distribution and brand share means that consumers are also typically bombarded with multiple housewares brands, as well as marketing messages – in some ways an overload of information, making it difficult to differentiate brands from one another.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
More direct-to-consumer online brands are emerging in the housewares category. Direct-to-consumer cookware brands really appeal to Millennial and Generation Z consumers who are on a budget yet are also style-conscious. While still small in terms of overall market share, these direct-to-consumer brands target tomorrow’s consumers, diligently building brand awareness. Besides e-commerce developments, housewares players have been trying to minimize the impact of tariffs in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, which may or may not see some resolution in the next few months.
Thank you, Erika. Your insights and international perspective are always fascinating. We look forward to learning from your deep experience in tracking consumer attitudes and shopping behaviors to give us a preview of how Gen Z consumers may begin soon impact the housewares market. Your program in the Innovation Theater on Monday, March 16 at 9:30 a.m. is sure to attract global retailers and brands planning for the future.
Learn more about Euromonitor’s many services and offices here.
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Be sure to attend the free, executive-level educational session at the Innovation Theater to hear about the latest research and analysis of home trends and forecasts for products in the smart home, kitchen and health care categories, as well as omnichannel practices. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at The Inspired Home Show website after the Show.