By Steve Bohling May 21, 2019 International News

The organisers celebrated another successful International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago in March.

To view a PDF of the complete feature as it appeared in NZ Hardware Journal magazine,
click the download button at the bottom of this page.

Feedback from last month’s International Home + Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago suggests that the quality of buyer attendees this year was the strongest for some time.

The show was another sell-out, featuring 2,205 exhibitors from 43 countries and six continents, as well as a focus on influencers/bloggers, smart/connected products and the specialty beverage movement.

After 15 years, 2019’s iteration of IHHS was also the last to be called the “International Home + Housewares Show”.

From next year the International Housewares Association is renaming the event “The Inspired Home Show – IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market”.

Says the IHA: “Design and function are no longer the sole reasons people purchase housewares products.

“The Inspired Home Show is taking things a step further to help retailers understand how design and function fit into their customers’ lifestyles and to find ways to inspire them to purchase products that compliment those lifestyles.”



Back to the 2019 show, which began early on Friday, March 1 with the inaugural “Inspired Home Influencer Conference,” bringing more than 145 top social media influencers and bloggers to McCormick Place for educational sessions and speed-dating with more than 100 exhibitors.

The influencers then stayed for the Show and were impressed with the brands they could partner with to bring product information to the consumer.

The ongoing focus on smart and connected products continued to grow with expansion of the IHA Smart Home Pavilion including three days of educational programming at the Smart Talks stage and the addition of a display by b8ta, a “retail as a service” model designed to bring emerging technologies to market quickly and without prohibitive cost.

Sessions in the Smart Talks stage were video recorded and will be posted on IHA’s website (see www.housewares.org/education/video).

“We are moving into a consumer-centric period of retail,” says Tom Mirabile, IHA’s consumer trend expert during his keynote on top trends for 2019.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about what the consumer wants, how they see themselves and how we can create solutions for them.”

Among the key themes seen at the show that retailers should keep an eye on are:

  • Personalising products – Products that allow consumers to express their own personality and tastes, like smart home products that can be customised to personal needs, specialty beverages and DIY kits for making everything from bourbon to vegan cheese.
  • Introducing “Bathleisure” – Takes its cue from the athleisure trend by elevating the bathroom to a spa-like retreat; think intelligent microfiber for bathrobes, turbans and bath linens.
  • The bathroom as the next smart home frontier – Smart mirrors, taps, toilets....

Based on the number of companies introducing new products at this year’s show, the product categories that seem ready to really take off include:

  • Home air quality – Air purifiers, aroma diffusers and humidifiers.
  • Countertop multi-cookers.
  • Air fryers.
  • Eco-friendly straws – In a variety of colours and materials.



As usual, in parallel with the IHHS are the IHA Global Innovation Awards (GIA), covering the best retailers and product designs.

We covered off the Global Honorees for Retail Excellence in the last magazine but this time it’s pertinent to also highlight some of the best international home & housewares products, ranging from well-established brands as well as first-time exhibitors.

Nearly 500 products were entered with no less than 65 finalists in all categories featuring in the New Product Showcases in the Buyers’ Club in each Show building.

Having already been placed on display in the Hall of Global Innovation in the Lakeside Center, the Global Honorees were announced during an invitation-only dinner on the first evening of the 2019 show at McCormick Place.

Check out some of the products from these Global Honorees below.

The dates for 2020’s “The Inspired Home Show – IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market” are 14-17 March and, as usual, the venue takes place at McCormick Place in Chicago.



Bend it, bend it…

In the GIA’s Cleaning category, Fusionbrands’ BendItBrush offers a flexible approach to difficult tasks like the rims of drinking glasses. How? It’s both a sponge and a brush all-in-one that you can bend like a sponge or straighten like a rigid handled brush.


Pots & pans

IPAC took out Cook + Bakeware with the Panboo Casserole that’s made from 100% natural materials and therefore also 100% recyclable and renewable. It’s also a cool, timeless design and appeals to food-centric and environmentally responsible consumers.

www.ipacitaly.it and www.panboo.it





The vase that grows

In Home Décor + Gifts, Sagaform’s elegant glass Hold Adjustable Vase stood out for its ability to grow in height!  Its length can be adjusted by moving the gold-coloured metal holder up or down, so you can support short or  tall flowers with style.






Let there be (stylish) light

Stylish design, natural, high quality materials and practicality made Gingko Electronics’ adjustable LED Octagon One Desk Light stand out in the GIA’s Household + Home Electrics category. The built-in rechargeable battery also means it’s totally wireless. 


A real stand-up guy

Who says practical storage solutions aren’t sexy? The Stand-Up Stasher is made from non-toxic pure platinum silicone (good for food and the planet) and is not only re-usable (thanks to the patented Pinch-Loc seal) but also stands up on its own.


Cook any way you like

Galanz Americas’ mega-multi-function ToastWave 4-in-1 Convection Oven + Air Fry + Toast + Microwave (phew!) took out the GIA Kitchen Electrics category. The key inclusion is the very much on-trend air frying function.


One hand or two?

In GIA’s Kitchen Hand Tools + Cutlery category, Dreamfarm’s Ortwo pepper mill was the mutt’s nuts. Designed to be used one-handed for convenience or two-handed for extra speed, ease, and output, Ortwo also boasts high design and material values!


Breathe easy

In Personal Care: IQAir’s sleek, compact and powerful Atem Personal Air Purifier for its portable “HyperHEPA” filtration technology, sleek and stylish design, and seamless adaptability to all lifestyles, indoors and out.


When you’re hot you’re hot

Mastrad’s m°control dual cooking probe was the GIA’s top pick in Kitchenware. Designed to measure your pan, grill or BBQ (including induction) as well as the core temp of what you’re cooking, m°control offers precise and immediate reading.


Clever solution to kitty litter

IRIS USA’s Top Entry Cat Litter Box was 2019’s top Pet Product. Its unique circular top entrance keeps litter in its place, while also affording privacy and freedom. Grooves on the lid brush paws clean while durable rubber feet keep it firmly in place.


Up where the air is clear

In the GIA Smart Home category, evoking more than a little of Apple’s design tenets, top dog was ETEKCITY and Levoit’s Willow True HEPA Air Purifier. With its “True HEPA” filter meeting strict standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy, this product just blends in and  works hard in the background.

www.etekcity.com and www.levoit.com/airpurifiers

Hydrate with visibility

Magisso North America’s Visibility Bottle was in the Tabletop category. Its key USP is that its exterior is highly reflective for improved visibility in low light. It’s the world’s first BPA-free reflective thermos bottle to keep your drinks hot or cold.


share this