There's No Place Like Home
Home Goods & Housewares to Inspire Success
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."
The Hamilton Beach 8 Quart Slow Cooker features an extra-large capacity that is perfect for large crowds. It fits a 10-pound turkey or a 12-pound roast, and features dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid. It offers warm, low and high settings, and its full-grip folding handles make for easy carrying and storage.
"We continue to see cookware sets and cutlery sets do extremely well," added Weaver. "The industry has gone to larger set configurations over the years, with 12 or 13 pieces, as opposed to seven- or eight-piece sets 10 years ago. The value proposition must be there to grab the attention of the consumer. Staples in the kitchen such as toasters and coffeemakers continue to do extremely well, especially higher-quality machines."
In addition, he said, "Copper Ceramic like the T-Fal Endura Copper Series has been very hot. The new twist on nonstick is playing off the less-oil, more convenient and easy cooking."
Anderson agreed that cookware sets are hot, and added some additional trends: knife sets, immersion blenders and air fryers, or minimal oil fryers.
For those who love to cook, the Lodge Skillet Bundle, available through Incentive Concepts, includes skillets in three sizes to cook everything from cornbread to steak. The classic size for scrambled eggs or a batch of cornbread, the Lodge 8-inch skillet combines timeless design and flawless function. Hailed as an essential kitchen tool by the country's leading chefs and publications, the Lodge 10.25-inch cast iron skillet is crafted to cook memorable meals for generations. And the Lodge 12-inch skillet will be your go-to skillet for years to come, and features an assist handle for easier handling.
Asked about trends, Trudeau emphasized a casual trend, "… where people are looking for things they can use not only for special occasions but also for every day." She added, "People are moving toward that tiny movement. They want everything to be multipurpose—to work not only for a Thanksgiving meal, but for a Friday night dinner as well. We've added to that by bringing in new dishware that's more fun and casual, and then also having items that do double duty."
Laura Perri, director of marketing for Nambé, agreed, adding, "We're seeing this shift toward casual entertaining. People are now registering for just one set of dinnerware that is heavy-duty, and dishwasher- and microwave-safe. It serves all purposes. We're also seeing that they want beautiful product, but they also want it to be functional."
The POP Dinnerware Collection from Nambé brings together sophisticated neutrals and vibrant color in a beautiful stoneware collection that is perfect for mixing and matching. With its clean lines and timeless design, POP embraces casual dining.
Ellen DeGeneres, the world-renowned and beloved television host and entrepreneur partnered with Royal Doulton to create a full tableware collection. The ED Crafted by Royal Doulton Collection, available through WWRD, expands the ED by Ellen brand into contemporary tableware. Handcrafted and artisanal qualities are very much at the forefront, creating a unique collection of eight different tableware designs and a range of mix and match sets. The Collection is priced from $10 to $167 at retail. There are textured patterns inspired by Ellen's love of nature while highlighting natural imperfections. There is a collection of patterns with distinct colored glazes. Shown are the Words mugs, which are sold as singles and also as a boxed set of four. "Words" design is rooted in Ellen's values and personality as well as her passion for simple, artisanal designs, perfectly in line with Royal Doulton. These pieces are to be enjoyed by family and friends for everyday occasions.
Simple and elegant, the KNORK Satin Brass 5-Piece Titanium Coated Hand Forged Flatware Set features Knork's contemporary curves, fitting for everyday elegance or a sparkling special occasion. Features titanium alloy coating, forged from a single stainless-steel bar. Designed to elevate your meal and your tabletop, Knork's unique line of flatware is centered on a whole new concept that modernizes the place setting.
The Juliska Qunita Hugo Chip n Dip, available through Rymax, is a hostess's dream. It features a handcrafted 15-inch cork chip bowl with a small crackle glass dip bowl insert.
Part of Nambé's "Your Choice" Collection, a series of three generously sized bowls at just the right price, the Round Bowl's classic shape makes this item a go-to for any occasion. Made of Nambé Alloy, it can be heated in the oven up to 500 degrees or chilled in the freezer to keep its contents' temperature longer. It's a great serving or décor piece.
New for Spring 2018, Waterford's Ogham Short Stories are fabulous representations of Irish culture. Spoken, written or sung, the Irish are famously verbose. A social people known for their warmth, conviviality and generosity, the Irish live in the spirit of togetherness and sharing. The Short Stories barware collection/tale continues with a series of DOFs featuring the Celtic alphabet, known as Ogham. Inspired by the ancient Irish God of Ogham, or "God of Eloquence," Waterford celebrates Irish heritage using Ogham to express four key sentiments on this new barware collection: Happiness, Joy, Love, and Peace.
Nothing glints, glistens or shimmers quite like the crackled glass of the Juliska Qunita Hugo Ice Bucket, available through Rymax. A cork top and matching ice scoop balances the act with their inherent natural warmth for a result that is both earthy and glamorous. Features a three-quart capacity and is dishwasher-safe.
Get Out of the Kitchen
Of course, while the kitchen might be the heart of the home, it's not the only place your program participants will be looking to outfit. There are plenty of items available to the incentive market that will help your award-earners live life to the fullest from the moment they step through their front door.
Bring a stylish and insanely comfortable lounging experience to the back yard with the Hanover Outdoor Boca Del Mar 3-Piece Seating Set, available through PMC. Featuring an inviting modern style and luxurious deep-seating construction, this all-weather lounger doubles as a seating set thanks to the movable ottomans. Use it as a double lounger or separate the ottomans from the love seat for additional seating. Premium cushions in basil green are easy to clean and maintain, ensuring this set will stay comfortable and vibrant for years to come.
The Endless Summer Tabletop Electric Patio Heater, available through Incentive Concepts, features a bronze basket weave look to add that perfect touch of comfortable warmth with the push of a button, allowing you to spend more time outdoors. These patio heaters are perfect for backyards, patios, porches and pool areas. Endless Summer outdoor heaters are made of weather-resistant materials so you'll enjoy this outdoor heater season after season.
New for Spring 2018, Burlington Pots giftware, available through WWRD, takes inspiration from Wedgwood's heritage, whereby Josiah Wedgwood gifted a pot to the Duchess of Devonshire in 1778. In design collaboration with Laura Cavendish, Countess of Burlington, and daughter-in-law of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the pots are handcrafted and made in England using Wedgwood's iconic Jasperware in a new way: layering blue and white Jasper inside the mold by hand, revealing an organic marbling effect for each pot, creating a truly unique piece every time. The Devonshire Ducal Coronet and Snake is featured on the bottom of each pot to sign off this special partnership. The planters come in black and white, or blue and white in four different sizes, 4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch and 7-inch.
When it's time to clean up, the Workshop General Purpose Wet/Dry Vac, available through Top Brands, steps up in power and drum capacity. This 9-gallon, 4.25 Peak HP vacuum remains easy to maneuver and store. Its integrated blowing port adds cleaning versatility when you just don't want to suck it up. Includes vacuum, 1 7/8-inch diameter hose, utility nozzle, wet nozzle, two extension wands, dust bag, filter and five-year limited warranty.
To help cool off, the Rowenta Turbo Silence Pedestal Fan, available through Zanes, is the most powerful and quiet pedestal fan and outperforms leading competitive products in airflow and silence. With four different comfort speeds, the oscillating head is made of five uniquely engineered extra-powerful quiet blades. The fan can move up to 1,695 cubic feet per minute for immediate, intense sensation of cool air, while staying within 40 to 57 decibels, equaling the noise levels in an average library. Remote control included.
The central figure in Vornado's new evaporative humidifier family, the EVDC300, available through Top Brands, delivers whole-room humidification driven by an Energy Smart DC motor. With more power than a standard Vornado, it delivers whole-room humidity circulation using 90 percent less energy. Pressing the leaf button saves even more energy—automatically turning it off if it runs out of water. The minimalistic design features a clear, easy-fill one-gallon tank that is simple to use and maintain with a low-water indicator that shows when it's time to refill.
Brand Matters, But Authenticity Matters More
One thing to remember with housewares and home goods is that while brand is important, the truly important thing is authenticity.
"You've got national brands like Cuisinart, Delonghi and Breville," Anderson said, "but people see the value in some secondary brands because they're not so widely distributed."
"I think people buying stuff always respond really well to authenticity," Trudeau said. "Nambé is a company where we've always had a strong mid-century modern design with the silver alloy and clean lines, and the more Nambé sticks to it—sticks to those patterns and designs—those seem to be the most popular pieces. In the incentive market, we're seeing people wanting things to be personalized and customized with engraving as well."