Feature Article - January/February 2018

There's No Place Like Home

Home Goods & Housewares to Inspire Success

By Emily Tipping

When it comes to rewards and incentive merchandise that really makes a difference, there's no place like home.

Home goods and housewares saw a huge jump in popularity after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and as the economy chugged back into motion, they not only maintained their place among the top categories for incentives and rewards, but even continued to grow. In fact, said Eric Anderson, director of sales for PMC, this category has seen double-digit growth in this past year. "There's still a huge demand for this," he said, "and people need to keep housewares in consideration for their programs.

Warren Weaver, director of national sales for Zane's Inc., agreed. "Housewares and home goods have been strong and are getting even stronger," he said. "The comfort and security of home have a direct correlation to the category, and there is a demand for better kitchen and home products over the years. People are looking to have kitchen products like they see on TV from celebrity chefs—items like All-Clad cookware and John Boos cutting boards are sought-after brands in today's kitchen."

"People are drawn to housewares and home goods because people spend a lot of time in the home and want to be able to prepare the perfect meal at home and enjoy it with family and friends," added Steve Izykowski, national sales manager, Hamilton Beach. "Great, well-thought-out houseware items help achieve this goal."

Appliances that help consumers get things done while having fun in the home will always be popular in incentive and reward programs.

Consumers are not only eager to add new items to their homes, and especially their kitchens, Anderson said, but also want to expand and upgrade what they've got. "In consumer electronics, if they already have a great TV that they got in the past two years, they're all set. In housewares, there's more room for expansion."

This is one of the reasons housewares have displaced consumer electronics at the top of the incentive-merchandise list. But it's not the only reason. Anderson also explained that housewares are unique because the smartphone can't replace any of their functionality.

Companies designing incentives, rewards and recognition programs are drawn to housewares and home goods because of the usefulness of these products, added Rachael Trudeau, corporate sales manager, Nambé. "It's not just something where you get a 'thank you for 25 years of service' and a plaque to hang in your office," she said. "You can serve your family or entertain friends at your next dinner party. Companies realize that any time the recipient pulls that piece out of the cabinet and uses it, they'll realize that they really do care."

In addition, she said, "it shows a bit more personal touch. The gifts you use and keep reflect the thought and personality that went into it."

Tried & True

Asked what kinds of housewares are trending right now, many of our experts pointed to tried-and-true favorites that continue to drive the market.

"Toaster ovens, air fryers and multi-cookers, as well as traditional coffeemakers are driving the small appliance market on a year-to-date basis," Izykowski said.

Anderson added that the tried-and-true categories " still remain the coffeemaker, the toaster, the stand mixer and the toaster oven."

The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 12-cup coffeemaker features two easy-fill reservoirs and easy-view water windows. Single brewing side lets you brew into a cup or 8-inch tall travel mug, while the carafe side features a programmable timer and auto shutoff. You can choose bold or regular brew strength. Other features include: programmable timer with two-hour automatic shutoff, automatic pause and serve, and storage area inside the cup rest for single-serve pack holder or brew basket. Brews up to 10 ounces with K-Cup pack or 14 ounces with ground coffee, and includes single-serve pack holder and brew basket.

The Capresso SG300 Stainless Steel Coffee Maker offers advanced features such as stainless-steel housing, GoldTone filter, charcoal water filtration, programmable 24-hour clock/timer and more. The 12-cup (60-ounce) glass carafe has an ergonomic handle, brew-through lid and drip-free pouring spout. Multiple nozzles spray water evenly for full saturation of coffee grounds. A special setting maximizes flavor for one to four cups. Drip stop allows you to pour a cup while brewing.

The Hamilton Beach 2-in-1 Oven and Toaster offers a space-saving design to save counter space, and toasts 40 percent faster and more evenly than the leading competitor. It features bake, broil and toast functions; a separate toast shade selector, 60-minute timer with auto shutoff, slide-out crumb tray, two rack positions and a bake pan included. The multifunctional toaster and oven can fit a 9-inch pizza.

Faster, safer and more efficient than a stovetop kettle, the Capresso H2O Glass Rapid-Boil Kettle features an upgraded, streamlined design. It offers durable heat-resistant German SCHOTT glass and a patented stainless-steel heating dome for a fast, quiet boil. The lid, handle and power base are newly designed for more functionality and visual appeal. The cool-touch handle has been ergonomically reshaped for an easier grip, with a stylish recessed on/off button.

"Appliances that help consumers get things done while having fun in the home will always be popular in incentive and reward programs," Izykowski said. "Appliances that can blend function, style and ease of usage become favorites of consumers year in and out."