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

Ah, summer. If ever there’s a time for laid-back, good vibes entertaining, this is it. But today’s consumers are looking beyond the ordinary when it comes to hosting and/or attending gatherings, even if they’re backyard barbecues. Retailers looking to inspire purchases around outdoor entertaining this summer should keep two themes in mind: creativity and affordability.

Unique Open-Air Events
Call it the social media effect. As hosts see more creative party ideas in their feeds, they’re going to want to do something a little different at their next outdoor gathering.

According to GWI, one in three consumers prefer to have a theme for their events–even ones that are incredibly niche. They’re also searching for new and imaginative ways to celebrate “literally anything” from divorces to dog birthdays.

It’s a prime opportunity for retailers to enter the conversation and offer up some inspiration or encouragement for celebrating life’s little moments when outdoor entertaining this summer, whether it’s an anniversary of something, the summer solstice or the season’s first appearance of fireflies.

Innovative Summertime Products

Unique products can also help serve up the creative flair behind an outdoor gathering… or even inspire one in the first place. These can be items that involve an experience or special treat, such as the Gourmia SoftSnap Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker (which guests can dispense directly into a cup or cone) or the Classic Cotton Candy Maker from Nostalgia Products.

Unique products can also serve up foods and drinks to guests when outdoor entertaining this summer in new and different ways. Case in point: My Cool Bar by Bramli—which offers a stylish and fun table and cooler in one—and the “Party Top” Beverage Dispenser with Drip Tray by Buddeez, which helps make drinks both tasty and accessible.

And don’t forget to provide ways for guests to get in on the fun. After all, GWI says half of consumers love investing time, creativity and effort into gatherings they attend. For instance, Farberware’s Build-A-Board—complete with six compartments and a clear locking lid—makes it easy for consumers to transport creative snack boards to parties.

Keeping Alfresco Entertaining Affordable

All this attention on being new and different when outdoor entertaining this summer doesn’t mean the sky’s the limit on cost. In fact, there’s almost as much attention on how to be creative with spending, and consumers are likely to appreciate tips and hacks for saving money on everything from décor to food.

Consumers participating in the     said they’re likely to host more home events this year than last, perhaps at least partially because home-based events are generally more economical than ones at restaurants or other venues.

That survey found that consumers 18-34-years-old held the most occasion-based home gatherings in 2023, followed by those 35-44-years-old.


The exclusive HomePage News report on the 2024 International Housewares Association (IHA) Occasions Survey offers an in-depth look into how consumers are celebrating life moments and what that means for home and housewares purchasing in 2024.