Feature Article - January/February 2016

Motivation Comes Home

The Most Inspiring Housewares & Home Goods

By Emily Tipping

When the economic downturn took hold, many participants in rewards and incentive programs turned away from frivolous luxury, skipping elaborate trips and expensive electronics, and instead turned inward, looking to their daily lives and redeeming for merchandise that could be used in the home. Whether these were everyday kitchen gadgets that made cooking a little easier or more sporadically used items ideal for entertaining guests, there's no doubt that this was when housewares and home goods really took off in the incentive market. So, now that the economy has recovered, and people are turning back toward more luxurious items, you might expect this category to falter. But, say the professionals who offer these goods to the market, that is not the case.

"Housewares is still a really strong category that is redeeming very well," said Eric Anderson, director of sales for PMC.

It seems that even though many award winners have turned back to luxury trips and goods, there's still a high demand for items they can use to feather their nests.

"Award winners want the 'fun' items that they would not typically purchase themselves, such as the fancy coffee makers or the frozen drink blenders, but don't necessarily need," said Chad Glamann, marketing manager for Top Brands Inc. "Housewares and home goods are also products that award winners will want to 'show off' to their family and friends. Who wouldn't want to demonstrate the new gadget they just received at a cocktail party or family dinner they were hosting?"

This category has a lot of appeal, said Becky Sawicki, director of special markets for Jura Inc., and that appeal generally works two ways. The products " make everyday life easier, or they make an impressive lifestyle statement for entertaining," she said. The high-end coffee equipment her company provides to the market provides both types of appeal.

"Whether it's using reward points or choosing from a service award or recognition assortment, rewards programs are a significant draw to experience products that might otherwise be out of reach," Sawicki said. "People who choose coffee-related products will use the product every day and for years to come."

And, the fact is, most home goods are the kinds of things people will use every day. And when they're not? Well, then they're the kinds of memorable items that get brought out to treat company to a great experience. Either way, the reward's value remains high, and gets repeated reinforcement over the years.

"People are constantly updating their home goods as more people are entertaining in house rather than going out," said Kenneth Fishman, purchasing manager for Rymax Marketing Services Inc. "People are continuously changing and updating their kitchen electrics to keep up with the latest color trends and designs."