The home industry continues to travel along its growth trajectory, but 2018 may look a little different, merely because 2017 results took such a dramatic leap forward. This was especially true in small kitchen electrics, which ended the year with dollar sales up 7 percent, and home environment appliances with 6 percent growth. These will be difficult comps to surpass, but our industry can do it.
Marketing and innovation efforts have improved in the key areas today’s consumers are focused on – health & wellness, entertaining, and convenience. Now, after a particularly strong holiday season, with some big category winners (multi-cookers, air fryers, and robotic vacuums) the industry needs to think about how to keep the spotlight on the home industry. Continued developments in innovation will be critical to staying top of mind with consumers, but those innovations need to have the consumer in mind – the wants and needs of the consumer must be front and center in these endeavors.
Will you be the next must-have item?
The key to success in 2018 lies in delivering products that address the key needs and desires of consumers as they look to enhance their home life in one way or another. Consumers are more engaged in daily activities and more engaged in trying new things. We need to continue to nurture this mindset and push the envelope in the areas that matter the most:
- Healthy living. Every aspect from what consumers eat to their living environment is part of today’s healthy consideration set.
- Unique and influential. The primary influencer has shifted from the retailer, to the brand or product, and now to our circles on social media. Products deemed worthy of social sharing, due to their impact on a consumer’s life, or their role in bringing something unique to it, will be winners.
- Entertaining with style and ease. Consumers are eating at home more and entertaining at home more. But the environment has shifted from a formal one, with an emphasis on the food, to a warmer casual environment that highlights the social aspects.
What other industries can we take cues from?
- Skincare has been a surging segment within prestige beauty, which may spell opportunity for personal care manufacturers. Selfie moments, an aging population, and the emphasis on a “healthy” appearance are trends that our industry can not only connect with, but also offer ways to simplify the process involved in achieving the desired results.
- Smart products were tech leaders during the holidays, and many major home appliance concepts are evolving into reality this year. Small home appliance manufacturers can learn from the smart products that are getting consumers’ attention – think voice activation, cross-product communication, and real-time usage learning communicated back to the manufacturer to fuel product improvements.
The most important thing to keep in mind, when looking for a successful year ahead, is to focus on making the consumer’s life better. If we hold true to this goal, 2018 will be another strong year for the home industry.