Having Fun At Home: Merchandise Monday

The past couple of years, this recession has caused a lot of people and companies to cut back and more carefully examine their budgets. This year's Home + Housewares Show in Chicago felt a ripple effect from this, seeing a lighter attendance than normal. Despite a slightly thinner crowd turnout, the outlook was definitely optimistic. Hinda Merchandise Operations manager Jim Valenti said about the show: "Some vendors are pulling back but definitely had enough new things to get us excited. Those who are investing and expanding now will ultimately be winners."

Economic issues have caused many people to spend more time at home. Things like eating out and going to the movies and buying popcorn and Coke have been replaced by staying home to cook and spending more time at the house doing things with the family. From these patterns a "Have fun at home" trend has emerged. The economy is beginning to make a turn for the better lately and some of the first signs of recovery have been seen in increased spending on the home. Spending is up (on things like cookware, coffee makers and even steam mops) but it isn't reckless. According to HomeWorld Business® magazine, industry insiders are calling "flat the new up," meaning spending has improved but consumers are still watching their budgets fairly closely.

So what has been big with consumers? Generally speaking, consumers have really taken hold of a "back to basics" mentality. The demand for products that fulfill basic necessities have taken precedent over ones that are regarded as "higher-end" or luxury" ones. Some of the focus products at the 2010 Home+Housewares show included single serve coffee makers, steam mops and cookware, especially celebrity chef cookware lines.

Check out our next few Merchandise Mondays for more in-depth looks at these featured products.