By Allison Zisko
Today’s consumer, more frugal and more conscious than ever of her health and wellbeing and that of her family and the environment, is gradually adjusting her shopping habits in ways that will impact the housewares industry in the future.
Seemingly small changes, like scanning Pinterest for recipes as much as for inspirational photos, as well as larger changes, such as a return to homesteading activities like gardening, bread baking and canning, should influence the types of products housewares companies develop in the future and the ways in which they market them.
These findings were made by market researcher AJ Riedel after a survey of her proprietary Home Influentials Panel (called HIPsters) in late 2012. Because they pick up on new home-related trends and embrace new home goods much sooner than the rest of the U.S. population, Riedel said, Home Trend Influentials are the bellwether for predicting changes in the behaviors, habits and practices, and attitudes of mainstream Americans.
Riedel Marketing Group’s Housewares Trend Tracker 2013, to be presented this month at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, outlines these key behaviors and practices.
Home Trend Influentials report eating more whole fresh ingredients and fruits and vegetables and less processed packaged food. Consumers are changing their eating habits primarily because they want to prevent health problems in the future by changing their dietary habits now. This reflects a change from the past, when the driving force behind eating differently was to eat healthier. Nearly half of those surveyed are buying more locally grown produce or growing their own vegetables, and more than a third of them are spending more time on food preparation because they are cooking more from scratch using the stovetop or conventional oven. They grill more and use slow cookers more. They are using the microwave less.
“The increased usage of slow cookers, steamers and blenders is related to the trend toward the preparation of more fresh foods, using scratch cooking techniques,” Riedel said in a statement.
In a discussion among a subset of Hipster members, attended by HFN last fall, the women spoke of baking their own bread (without the use of bread machines) more often and of canning fruits and vegetables.
According to Riedel, more survey respondents feel organized because they have tackled home organizational projects and they are purchasing more home storage solutions than they did the year before. One of the most popular items among panel members was closet shelving systems, followed closely by stackable storage items with lids.
An increasing number of panel members are trying to use less chemicals in their homes and yards and are thus more interested in either making their own, less toxic cleaning formulas or purchasing products that introduce less chemicals in the home, such as steam floor mops.
Not surprisingly, the women surveyed are more technologically savvy than ever and avidly comparison shop and research products online before purchasing. They also said Facebook is becoming more a source for recommendations and referrals, and Pinterest is the place to go for recipes. “The biggest news in social media is how quickly Pinterest has grown into one of the major social networking sites,” Riedel said.