IHA’s 2023 Occasions Report—sponsored exclusively by Newell Brands—offers a comprehensive analysis of how consumers are once again embracing key life events. Eight occasions are featured: engagements, bridal showers, weddings, home ownership, pet ownership, baby showers, college-bound and retirements.
The report features occasion-specific findings on 2023 frequency, as well as consumer’s thoughts on making home and housewares gifts part of the celebrations. But it also sheds light on a broader, macro-opportunity for makers and sellers of housewares products: the opportunity to build lasting relationships with consumers around these life moments.
IHA Market Watch authors recently gathered for a webinar to discuss this as the next growth opportunity for home and housewares.
“Several of these life moments involve a gift-giving event like a baby shower or bridal shower, but they’re much more than just that,” says Leana Salamah, IHA vice president, marketing. “They represent a pivot point in a consumer’s lifestyle. After someone gets married, has a baby or goes off to college, their lives change so much, and it’s a real opportunity to build a long-lasting relationship with them.”
“Once these occasions occur, people are suddenly living a new life,” agrees Tom Mirabile, principal and founder of Springboard Futures. “They’re looking at themselves differently. They’re buying for themselves differently, and the things they’re asking for from others is different.”
What’s more, these occasions are emotional moments. “When you’re a retailer or a manufacturer, you’re always trying to elevate your brand in the consumer’s mind,” says Joe Derochowski, vice president, home industry advisor, The NPD Group. “These emotional moments allow you to really connect with consumers.”
Occasions gift giving also offers the chance to connect with the people buying the gifts, not just the recipients, he adds.
“We tend to silo gift-giving,” says Mirabile. “But a lot of what the Occasions Report reveals is a movement forward. We’re seeing housewares as a gifting industry, and that affects everything from (packaging to merchandising). Gifting is broader than any of us can imagine, and the opportunity in housewares is incredible.”
To start, it’s important for housewares retailers and manufacturers to provide ideas for gift-giving related to these occasions, says Salamah. That may involve marketing in key spaces where people are preparing for these life events, online merchandising, in-store displays or packaging adjustments.
Don’t forget to suggest ideas that tie into themes resonating with consumers today such as wellness, preservation of family time, convenience and the balance of home and work life.
Occasions also provide an opportunity to pair home and housewares gifts with traditional gifts from outside the industry (i.e., a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes as a housewarming gift). For retailers, this could be as simple as merchandising the two items together; for manufacturers, it would involve an external partnership and creative packaging.
The IHA 2023 Occasions Report frequently indicates how important the 18-34-year-old market is, but the IHA Market Watch authors caution sellers not to ignore other age groups. Many people are getting married and having children later in life, as well as going back to school. Baby Boomers are also a key market because as they retire, they’re often moving into smaller spaces and/or looking for new ways to stay current and try new things.
To sum up, “Ours is an industry that constantly asks, ‘What’s new?’ But sometimes that’s focused a lot on the product and not as much on how you bring that product to market and how you communicate about that product,” says Peter Giannetti, HomePage News editor-in-chief. “I think that’s going to be the important ‘new’ in 2023… finding that message, finding that story and building that relationship.”
For detailed analysis of how consumers will be celebrating life moments this year, access IHA’s 2023 Occasions Report. For more insights on how the home and housewares industry can grow by connecting to consumers around life moments, listen to the webinar with IHA Market Watch authors.
Soda has even gotten in on the game with “dirty soda” concoctions popular on TikTok. (New to the concept? Take regular soda—often diet—and create a clever concoction with flavored cream, syrup, fruit juice or fruit.)
The overarching key to all these drink concepts is consumers get to customize their beverages with a variety of fun and fresh flavors, as well as different techniques and presentations.
Speaking of presentation: All these specialty drinks call for some nice glasses to show them off (not only on social media, but as we entertain more at home). In fact, the 2022 HomePage News Consumer Outlook Survey—commissioned in partnership with the International Housewares Association—showed a strong intent to buy. 50% of respondents said they were somewhat or very likely to buy drinkware, which includes glassware, in 2022.
In the survey, 49% said they were likely to purchase tumblers in the next 12 months, followed by beer glasses (24%), wine/champagne glasses (21%), whiskey/spirits glasses (19%) and martini/specialty cocktail glasses (12%). Respondents were able to select two choices. Coffee/tea vessels also garnered 49% of votes.
The market appears to be growing for specialty and colored glassware. Both add a personal and customizable touch that younger consumers especially crave.
Glassware like the brightly colored choices in Qualia Glass’ Carnival collection or the wide variety of jeweled selections from The Queens’ Jewels make a statement not only while serving, but also while on display.
In addition to glassware, at-home mixologists are also looking for appliances and tools to help them create their specialty drinks.
Bar sets like this one from Legacy, a Picnic Time brand, are essential, as are blenders, shakers and mixing glasses. And don’t forget shaved ice makers like this one from DASH; Yelp says searches for slushie drinks (alcoholic or not) are up 77%.
Access the 2022 HomePage News Consumer Outlook Survey—commissioned in partnership with the International Housewares Association – for more insights on glassware and 14 other home and housewares categories.