Feature Article - January/February 2012

Where the Heart Is

Inspire & Motivate With Merchandise for Hearth & Home

By Emily Tipping

After the economic downturn struck, the housing market was in a shambles. So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that incentive industry experts reported a rise in redemptions for housewares and items for the home. After all, no one was going to be able to flip their house with housing prices falling through their newly laid kitchen floors. It was time to stay put. To enjoy what you had. And, because many people found themselves at home more, they decided it was time to enhance their living spaces in ways that made them more livable.

"Consumers have gravitated to home products as product options of choice since the start of the recession, because it's a way of making their home their castle with all their most comfortable products that represent personal choices for their lifestyle," said Terry Loury, national accounts manager with WWRD US. "It's a rejuvenation of nesting—creating a statement in their home where they want to feel safe and comfortable."

This year promises to continue the trend, with many still focused on outfitting their homes for convenience's sake, for comfort's sake, for style's sake and more. And, providers of merchandise for the home have plenty on offer to meet those needs.

"These are home goods," said Rick Low, national accounts manager with Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. "Home is where they spend the most time outside of work usually. Consumers want a comfortable, warm, inviting place for themselves, family and guests."

Housewares On the Rise

Global housewares market data show an overall increase of 4.7 percent in 2010, while in the United States, average household housewares expenditures increased 1.5 percent in 2010, according to the International Housewares Association. The top three categories in 2010 were cook and bakeware (17.3 percent), kitchen tools and accessories (14.2 percent) and tabletop (12.1 percent).