IHA brought insights from around the world to Global Forum attendees with short presentations by its offices in varied regions to close each morning and afternoon session.
Mark Chapman, IHA UK Office
- Online Retail: The online retail space in the UK continues to diversify, even in the shadow of Amazon. There are many new, independent online retailers finding their niche in the marketplace, offering curated products based on specific themes.
- Sustainability continues as an area of consumer focus with strong potential for products entering the market with true innovation.
- The Lockdown Effect: The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown resulted in a rise in home trends including cooking, baking and decluttering. The home organization and storage category saw a major boost. With many still wary of eating out and local lockdowns being enforced, baking and home cooking is a trend that will continue in the UK.
- Brexit: While controversy and confusion continues in the UK about trade deals with the EU, the opportunity for transatlantic business in more appealing than ever.
- Care & Share: Anything that involves community support, volunteer action, donations to local charity or “thinking of others” is very well received right now, so approaching the UK market with a philanthropic or community mindset will be a great way to introduce yourself or to make headway in the UK.
Chema Martinez Roman, IHA Representative – Spain and Portugal
- Essential collections at low prices. Due to the slowed economy and reduced household incomes, retailers selling products at lower prices in key categories are experiencing high demand.
- Because people are spending so much time at home, home organization and comfort products are a priority.
- Increased demand for kitchen accessories and electrics: blenders, food processors and juicers.
- Increased demand in sustainable, reusable, biodegradable products. Suppliers should adapt their products if they intend to enter the markets in Spain and Portugal.
- Availability of stock in the EU and the ability to accept small orders is key for many retailers, now selling online due to store closures. Retailers are looking for small quantities to sell online.
Pascal Glorieux, IHA Representative – France and Belgium
- ALTERMUNDI is a new website and small chain of stores with 100% product focus on bio/fair trade products.
- During lockdown there has been a tremendous increase in baking, with 37% of the French population saying that they have tried new recipes during this time. Many novice bakers are now inspired by social media. Bakeware, cookware and kitchenware categories are doing well at retail.
- The home office has become ever important during the pandemic. The border between private and professional life is extremely close. Working from home is safe, easy and economical. Retailers are doing well with home décor and office furniture.
- Mixology is a major trend in France. Retailers are seeking products for cocktail making including shakers, mixers and other mixology accoutrements.
- Associating outdoor and decor categories. The garden center Truffaut, with 60 outlets, and the BHV department store, of the Galeries Lafayette group, will form a partnership to develop an in-store collaborative for lifestyle products such as picnic items and outdoor products.
Tommaso Madotto, IHA Representative – Italy
- Sustainability: Reusable, sustainable products across all categories are in demand by retailers to meet the EU laws banning single-use plastic.
- Due to the pandemic lockdown forcing people to stay home, the use of yeast for cooking and baking has seen an increase of more than 200%, as many are making breads, pastas and pizza at home. Retailers are doing particularly well with baking and cooking products and have developed partnerships and cooking inspiration with strong cookware and bakeware suppliers.
- Cargo Milano, a retailer that developed as a home organization and storage outlet, has further expanded to selling a full range of home and housewares products. The retailer enjoys a prominent location for one of its stores in Milan in the XXV Aprile Square.
- An increased number of companies are entering the slow cooking/food conservation market with products to assist consumers with canning and dehydration.
- Fashion-forward, portable drinkware and food strorage continues as a stable category, despite several successful suppliers already in the market. Children must now bring their own water bottles to school.
Melina Meyer, IHA Germany Office
- Sustainability: Increased demand for sustainable products and packaging with certain plastic items banned in the EU starting in July 2021. Product specifications should include renewable raw materials; fair manufacturing conditions; energy-efficient manufacturing; reusable and durable products such as metal and wood; reduction in demand for plastics.
- “Cocooning” and Working from Home: Pandemic changes meant more time working and cooking in homes, giving rise to a positive trend of high-quality kitchen products, modern appliances, DIY improvements and new furniture purchases at specialty, DIY and furniture stores.
- Age Appropriate Living: As medical advancements increase longevity, “age-appropriate” housing and living has become key. Tableware (cups, plates) for reduced facility is in demand.
- Digitization: Digitization to reach customers faster, more efficiently, more securely and without concern of location has become key. The pandemic has forced brick and mortar retailers to online resources, including professionally designed social media channels.
- Grocery stores: more supermarkets are increasing housewares sales and are selling high-quality home and housewares products.
Each presenter included examples of retailers successfully addressing the trends in those countries and provided buyer names and contact information.
For more information on the Global Forum presenters, contact Lori Szudarek, IHA senior manager, member and international buyer relations, at +1.847.692.016 or email Lszudarek@housewares.org.