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

Last summer, you couldn’t go anywhere without escaping Barbie mania. While somewhere around 100 companies had official marketing partnerships with Mattel and The Barbie Movie, thousands of retailers took the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon by using clever in-store displays, Barbie-related events and of course, the color pink to attract shoppers and inspire purchases.

That type of inspiration continues to be important. After all, Circana data shows that today’s consumers are buying fewer items when they visit stores. Across general merchandise categories, the number of items per purchase declined 2% in 2023 – continuing a second year of decline, according to Circana/Checkout Analytics data for 12 months ending in December.

That data also shows shoppers making more single item trips compared to pre-pandemic.

Of course, there are many factors involved here, but it also begs the question of how stores are inspiring consumers to make in-store purchases.

“Are we really marketing to the moment?” Joe Derochowski, Circana home industry advisor, asked the audience during his keynote at The Inspired Home Show 2024.

What’s New, What’s Next

In order to do this, retailers need to keep up with the latest trends, even if they’re micro-trends or ones that are locally focused. In a recent white paper, Datassential reported that 67% of consumers said they want to see fads and short-term trends represented at restaurants and retail.

The food and beverage world is usually ripe with innovation, so it pays to keep an eye out for opportunities to connect your store’s products with a trending flavor, dish or style. That can take the form of a special display or special event. It’s also a great opportunity to partner with a local restaurant, chef or mixologist.

What’s more, 2024 gia winner Cucina33 (Pordenone, Italy) says collaborating with local producers and artisans offers newness for customers and helps to put a local spin on larger trends.

Timely Tie-Ins

It may be too soon to tell what the buzz-worthy tie-in for this summer may be, though the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris is a good contender. (Tip: Stick with general themes around sports, games or national pride, as the International Olympic Committee can be particular about using their brand or likeness.)

Even local events offer good tie-ins for retailers, as do movies, sporting events and other pop culture moments.

Some retailers have had success carving out a pop-up area in the front of their store that can be frequently changed to merchandise around a new trend, partnership or pop culture tie-in. This is a concept that has worked well for 2024 gia winner Loeb AG (Bern, Switzerland); it also helps the legacy department store keep their brand current and nimble.

Pulling It All Together

Outside of current events or pop culture moments, there’s also something to be said for tying different trends together in-store, or putting everything that might inspire a customer on a certain trend in one place, regardless of what category it might fall into.

When it comes to merchandising, Derochowski challenged retailers in his Show keynote to think about trends or occasions and ask themselves: “What can you do to provide (consumers with) the full solution for that life moment?”

For example: When it comes to at-home entertaining, it helps to bring together in one place a variety of different items from different categories such as on-trend tabletop items, innovative new gadgets for preparing food, newer items for cooking like pizza ovens and attractive serving pieces. It’s even an opportunity to bring specialty food or drink items into the mix, whether items for a seacuterie platter or craft cocktail mixes.


Video and/or audio recordings of all the keynote sessions at The Inspired Home Show 2024 are now available online.