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Trends Spotted at the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show

Retailers across several industries gathered in Chicago at the McCormick Center to check out the latest and greatest products and innovations to hit the market. Thousands of new items were on display at the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show (IH+HS), which ran March 5-8.

During the show, members of the Hardware Retailing team walked the aisles of the convention center to look for unique housewares trends and discover items independent home improvement retailers should take note of this year. Discover a few of the most noteworthy trends and then view a gallery from the showfloor to spark your imagination for your housewares inventory and merchandising inspiration.

Old School Theme, New School Performance

Across the showfloor, one common theme was readily apparent. Manufacturers are bringing consumers what they want– products that spark nostalgia.

Nostalgic items were clearly evident in many booths on the showfloor, with product lines like Fire-King glassware, made by the Anchor Hocking Company, which is making a comeback with retro-inspired kitchenware. The brand of glassware pieces have become somewhat of a collectors item, so its return is no surprise.

Now Designs had bakeware reminiscent of the past as well, with patterns that look like they came out of a 1960s catalog. Sambonet also brought the spirit of the 1960s back with its latest line, the new 1965 Vintage cookware collection.

T-fal is another manufacturer who was displaying its latest collection of vintage cookware. The company put the line out in honor of its 60th anniversary. The retro-inspired prints decorate the exterior of the fry pan, yet the interior of the pan has non-stick and thermostat technology, bringing modern quality.

Take Time for Tea

Another popular trend spotted at the show were the many types of tea pots, tea kettles, coffee brewers and more. Old Dutch International featured copper Moscow Mule mugs, in addition to copper tea kettles. The London Pottery brand by Now Designs also featured a wide array of tea kettles, which were merchandised in a unique display, with different tiers of different sized tea kettles building up together.

Alessi is another manufacturer who seems to realize tea is a popular and growing pasttime among consumers. It displayed its tea kettle at the show, called Tea Rex.

Coffee also got coverage at the show. Coolgear introduced BRU, its new line of cold brew iced coffee systems. Attendees could get a taste and check out the unique line of products in their booth.

A Rainbow of Color

When walking around the showfloor, it was readily apparent that manufacturers are adding pops of color wherever they can. Some colors were muted, but for the most part, the booths featured products with bright colors across the rainbow, like lime green, purple, hot pink and more.

Now Designs featured a wide variety of strainers in many bold colors. Tovolo had many different types of silicone spoons and spatulas, with different purposes, in many bright colors. The company also had popsicle molds in a variety of colors and unique designs, like a finger or a dragon.

Zak! Designs showed off its colorful water tumbler options in the HydraTrak. This product helps users track the many glasses of water they should be drinking each day by moving colorful rubber bands up after each refill.

At the show, Corkcicle showed off its hot and cold canteen that comes in a variety of sizes and a rainbow of fun colors.

Moving into the clean-and-contain area of the showfloor, the colorful theme continued. Holster Brands is a unique line of silicone product storage holders that cling to edges of sinks and other surfaces and are available in several bright and fun colors as well.

There were even coloring book placemats, designed by Hester & Cook Design Group, Inc. While these didn’t have colors – yet – they followed the growing trend of adults coloring to reduce stress and boost creativity.

Enjoying Nature and Going Green

At the show, manufacturers also presented ways for consumers to enjoy nature and preserve it as well. For consumers looking to escape outside, Igloo had an impressive booth featuring its latest cooler on wheels and soft padded coolers. The soft coolers had plenty of cold-storage compartments, but look like a decorative handbag.

Eva Solo was a vendor that grabbed attendees attention with its display for its unique bird feeder. The glass feeder attaches to a user’s window and allows them to watch birds in action.

In addition to outdoor fun, there were several eco-friendly products present on the showfloor. There were reusable zip bags called (re)zip by Blue Avocado. These durable zip bags help the environment by cutting down on plastic bag waste and in a variety of colors.

Following along the same lines, EcoSouLife featured a variety of tableware that are both reusable or single use, yet still biodegradable. The company creates environmentally sustainable products that are biodegradable, replacing everyday harmful plastic options.


About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon is the retail outreach coordinator for NRHA. She meets with retailers in their stores and at industry events and introduces them to the services NRHA provides. Renee previously worked as a member of the NRHA communications team. She earned a degree in visual journalism from Illinois State University, where she served as the features editor for the school newspaper. After college, she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at Jimmy John’s franchise locations across the country. She enjoys exploring books with her book club, Netflix marathons and hosting goat yoga at her apartment complex. Renee Changnon 317-275-9442 rchangnon@nrha.org

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