The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show

March 2–4, 2025 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show
March 2—4 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

Nostalgia is big in the home and housewares industry these days. And what’s one thing we’re all longing for? Getting back to celebrating the holidays with family and friends.

To be certain, at-home entertaining is staging a major comeback overall. As COVID-19 fears subside in many parts of the world, people are looking to reconnect with family and friends in person. In addition, inflation is driving more consumers to entertain at home, where many are eager to use cooking skills they learned during the pandemic.

In fact, a new IHA 2023 at-home entertaining survey found that 82% of consumers plan to entertain at home either more than or the same as last year.  (Proprietary data was collected in September of 2022.)

In addition, The Inspired Home Show 2023 will spotlight at-home entertaining with a special Trending Today event on Saturday, March 4.

Want to tap into the excitement for at-home entertaining this Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season? Here’s some advice for housewares marketing and sales:

Don’t Take Nostalgia Too Far

While we’re nostalgic to gather for the holidays again, it’s important to recognize that hosts might not be entertaining the same way as a year ago, much less 30 years ago.

Those who entertained in the past two years might have been more concerned about germs and opted for individually plated meals or single-serve desserts. But shared experiences are gaining traction again. IHA’s survey found that buffet-style meals will be the most common style of food service in the coming year (46%).

It’s also important to think about a host’s emotional needs. Some hosts today may be feeling relieved they don’t have to control every aspect of a gathering from a health and safety point of view. But more than a few are feeling rusty after a couple years off from holiday entertaining; they could probably use some practical hacks and a little encouragement.

Tap into the Latest Housewares Styles/Tastes

Pandemic-era shutdowns are affecting how we entertain in more ways than just health and safety. So, make sure to tap into the latest home and housewares styles and flavor profiles.

Over-the-top, formal displays may not connect with consumers this year. At-home entertaining influencer Elizabeth Van Lierde (@thecollegehousewife) says people are still looking for some of the simplicity of a pandemic lifestyle.

“A lot of people leaned into the cozy life (during the pandemic),” says Van Lierde. “So, it makes sense that we’re now embracing an entertaining vibe that is comfy and cozy, even while trying to make it a little more elevated and sophisticated.”

When it comes to food, Progressive Grocer magazine is predicting holiday gatherings in 2022 will feature more daring flavors and preparations, as many shoppers improved their cooking skills during the pandemic and got a chance to experiment with different recipes and presentations.

Address the Pain Points

When we think about entertaining and housewares, our minds quickly go to serving pieces and tabletop items. But when you ask consumers their biggest entertaining-related challenge, their answers have nothing to do with these items.

Clean-up was the top challenge cited by respondents to IHA’s survey (30%) for occasions entertaining. Clean-up was followed by timing of prep – aka getting everything ready at the same time (22%) and food preparation itself (15%).

Consider what items you offer that address these problems, and make sure to include some in your merchandising and promotions in the coming weeks. This also might be an area ripe for partnerships, cross-promotions or shopper educational opportunities in the coming year.


Get Ready for The Inspired Home Show 2023!

March 4-7, 2023