Home Industry Expertise Housewares & Small Appliances Market Opportunities

Home & Housewares Market Research & Business Solutions

Economic pressures. Technological evolution. Consumers’ changing tastes. The home, housewares, and small appliance industries have to make sense of it all. That calls for a research partner with robust data assets, industry knowledge, and experience – along with analytic solutions that equip companies to evaluate the changes in the marketplace and put consumer trends in perspective.

The NPD Group has the point-of-sale (POS) and consumer information required for understanding the where, who, and why behind what’s selling in stores. And with enhanced weekly and Geo-Level information, businesses in the home marketplace can use our insights and solutions to analyze promotional effectiveness, determine optimal marketing opportunities, and more.

 

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Home and Housewares
Solutions


Retail Tracking

Guide critical business decisions. Companies inform their pricing and marketing strategies by using retail sales data in a wide range of home and housewares categories. Information covers all key distribution channels, including online sales, using national data from our Retail Tracking Service.


Weekly Retail Tracking

Monitor product launches, promotions, and seasonal sales cycles, especially when fast market response is required. This service delivers a clear view of a promotion’s impact during the week or weeks the promotional event occurred. It gives you the flexibility to more effectively analyze sales influenced by holidays, seasons, and even weather events. This service also allows you to analyze actual market price changes with increased precision, so you can better align pricing with drivers, and it enables apples-to-apples comparisons to year-ago time periods.


Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking

Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking complements our national Retail Tracking Service – it can help you determine whether sales are distribution-driven or whether certain parts of the country are contributing more to national share or driving growth. The velocity measure that is part of Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking takes into consideration sales volume (Annualized Industry Volume or AIV) rather than considering store count alone, for a more meaningful read on where products are selling and how they are performing.


Account Level Reports

These reports enable retailers who choose this option to share their information with approved vendors, allowing vendors to analyze business performance at specific retailers down to the item level in many instances. By making this report available to their vendors, retailers can work together with them to optimize performance. These reports may only be made available with the express permission of the retailer.


Consumer Tracking

Stay on top of shifting tastes and trends. Take advantage of the only syndicated service that presents a reliable and comprehensive view of the total housewares market from the consumer perspective. Get an unmatched view of who purchased, the reason for the purchase, competitive brand share by retailer, purchase motivators, and customer satisfaction with our Consumer Tracking Service.


Checkout

Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including  first and third-party sales for Amazon and other marketplaces, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and  an early read on emerging players.


Analytic Solutions

NPD’s Analytic Solutions group includes senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that help clients predict areas of risk and growth to improve marketing and product development. By combining NPD’s unique data assets and industry expertise with state-of-the-discipline research techniques and proprietary solutions, our Analytic Solutions team is able to answer clients’ most pressing business questions.



Home and Housewares
Reports


Small Appliances Are Big Business

POS retail tracking, consumer information, and custom research can help you get your fair share.



Home and Housewares
Press Releases


July 17, 2018

More U.S. Consumers Are Purchasing Home Products Online, Reports NPD

More U.S. consumers are using e-commerce to purchase home-products, like small appliances, housewares, and textiles, but there is still room for growth.


March 11, 2018

The NPD Group Presents Fifth Annual Industry Performance Awards at IH+HS 2018

The top home industry performers were presented with awards from The NPD Group during the International Home + Housewares Show, on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Small appliance and housewares brands with the largest increase in U.S. market share in 2017 were recognized, as were 6 companies with the largest online increase.


March 8, 2018

Online Growth Among Housewares Buyers Extends to Adjacent Categories, Reports NPD’s Checkout

U.S. online sales of housewares products increased 18 percent in 2017. A majority of these housewares e-commerce buyers also purchased home improvement items, small appliances, and home textiles online, according to e-commerce insights from The NPD Group’s Checkout.


March 6, 2018

Hygge Inspires a Change in Consumer Attitudes toward Home Scents, NPD Group Finds

U.S. consumers continue to embrace hygge. Over the last year, more have reported using home scents to relax, feel cozy, and uplift their spirits. At the same time, home scents has become the fastest-growing area of the prestige fragrance market.


February 6, 2018

Double-Digit Growth Continues in Online Home Improvement Market

U.S. online sales of home improvement products increased 34 percent in 2017, reaching nearly $20 billion, according to ecommerce insights from The NPD Group’s Checkout consumer receipt mining service. Double-digit growth was prevalent across all major home improvement category segments last year – everything from plumbing and hardware to outdoor living and decor.


December 13, 2017

“All I Want for Christmas is a Multi-cooker.”

Even before the holiday season began sales of multi-cookers were surging, and as of the 12 months ending November 2017, sales have increased 79 percent to more than $300 million,* reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. A top performing category over Thanksgiving week, as well as the week prior, Instant Pot and other leading multi-cooker brands flew off the shelf over Black Friday weekend, and inventory was sold out or low but has since been replenished.


October 19, 2017

Home Highlights: Two Tabletop Surprises

Tabletop categories are staples expected to be a part of any household, but the ways in which consumers are shopping for and purchasing these categories are a bit more unexpected.


May 9, 2017

E-commerce Plays Bigger Role in Home Improvement – Sales Near $11 Billion, Reports NPD

Port Washington, NY, May 9, 2017 – Online sales of home improvement products that span everything from plumbing and hardware to storage and décor, have grown 41 percent in the 12 months ending March 2017, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. The e-commerce home improvement market reached $10.9 billion in sales for the year, according to NPD’s receipt mining service, Checkout TrackingSM.


March 21, 2017

The NPD Group Presents Fourth Annual Industry Performance Awards at IH+HS 2017

The NPD Group’s home division presented its fourth annual industry performance awards during the International Home + Housewares Show on Saturday, March 18, 2017. Awards were given to small appliance and housewares (non-electrics) brands with the largest increase in market share* in 2016, compared to 2015, according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service. In addition, this year’s event included three new awards presented to top performers in key major home appliance industry segments. These new awards were based on NPD’s Checkout TrackingSM Online service for the Major Home Appliance industry, which captures online sales of major home appliances from consumer receipts.


March 18, 2017

In 2017, the Home-Products Industry Will Continue on a Growth Trajectory, According to a New Forecast from The NPD Group

A new home-products industry forecast from global information company The NPD Group, reveals that the small home appliances and housewares markets will continue on the growth path they returned to in 2015. Covering more than 100 small kitchen electrics, personal care appliance, home environment appliance, and housewares categories, NPD is forecasting*a nearly three percent combined dollar sales increase for these industry segments in 2017 versus 2016.


Home and Housewares
Insights


June 13, 2018

A Healthy Smile: Understanding the Evolving Electric Oral Care Market

Getting a handle on market size, retailer growth trends, consumer preferences, and brand growth for the electric oral care market can be challenging.


May 2, 2018

At Home with E-commerce Housewares Consumers

E-commerce has changed the way consumers shop for home products. A view into the online buyer journey provides unique insight into how the market and consumer are evolving, how to anticipate and meet the consumer’s core needs, and how you can effectively target marketing efforts to capture spending dollars. Here’s a look at what our Checkout E-commerce Tracking service has revealed . . .


April 17, 2018

The NPD Group’s Total Home Experience

No matter what consumers use in their homes, we track it. We help our clients improve performance by identifying and targeting buyers, showing their dollar value of their brands, and evaluating and guiding pricing and promotion decisions.


October 19, 2017

Back-to-School 2017 by the Numbers

The back-to-school season now includes more options for the consumer than ever before. We took a look at how U.S. consumers shopped for back-to-school products in 2017 to help you plan for the 2018 season.


September 15, 2017

Back-To-School Shopping — Not a One-Stop Occasion

The back-to-school season isn't about one-stop shopping anymore. Find out what it is about these days.


September 14, 2017

What's Trending in the Home Textiles Industry?

Online sales in the home textiles industry have had a major impact on the business. Did the back-to-school season also affect sales growth? Here's a look at the latest home textiles industry insights and trends.


August 16, 2017

Major Home Appliances See Online Channel Growth

To understand which major appliances are selling online and to whom—and to see which retailers are reaping the revenue—you need a robust view of the e-commerce environment.


July 24, 2017

Checkout: How a Home-Textiles Manufacturer Averted Delisting and Built a Better Partnership With a Key Retailer

A home-textiles manufacturer found itself facing an increasingly common, and dangerous, problem with distribution. The manufacturer learned one of its key retail partners was rethinking its strategy and looking to reduce the number of items it carried in its bedding department. Buyers at the retailer hinted that the manufacturer’s linen brand might be delisted in the process. The manufacturer turned to Checkout for help.


June 15, 2017

Back-to-School Shopping: Looking Back to See Ahead

The back-to-school season is the second largest retail shopping season. To gauge what’s to come this year, we looked back on last year’s back-to-school shopping behavior


May 16, 2017

Under the Covers at Bed, Bath and Beyond

CT-Under the covers at Bed Bath and Beyond



Home and Housewares
Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts


January 30, 2018

Home’s Biggest Challenge in 2018 – Beating 2017

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.



November 28, 2017

Hot Home “Gifts” for Holiday 2017

Home-related products will continue their hot streak during the 2017 holiday season. Whether they are meant as gifts for others, or something consumers ‘give’ themselves this holiday season, there will be some definite stand-outs because of the added value they deliver.

  • Multi-cookers are this season’s ‘must-have’ item for the home, appealing to consumers’ desire for convenience in creating healthy meals.
  • Coffeemakers and cookware will continue to be a top holiday draw, driven by a renewed focus this year.
  • Robotic and stick vacuums will clean up with innovation and powerful marketing messages around simplifying household chores.
  • Portable beverageware makes a great stocking stuffer for just about anyone – a great simple gift to grab that can also have a personal flare with color and design selections.
  • Impulse shopping will drive wins in barware, and anything tea-related.
  • Oral care, garment care, and other personal care appliances, while personal and practical, will prove to be welcome gifts under the tree, or in a consumer’s own shopping bag.

 

Early season results reminded of the importance of extending holiday season marketing efforts beyond holiday gifting, also focusing on life needs that are at play during this time. Temperature changes in much of the U.S. drove heaters to be a growth leader. But, stick vacuums, multi-cookers, robotic vacuums, and single-serve coffeemakers were also top performers because they are holiday staples, beneficial in preparing for the needs of the season. Blending and processing products also came to the surface with strong growth – this could also be the beginning of some true holiday shopping as consumers began to take advantage of early promotions.

Today’s consumers are deeply invested in their home life, and they are willing to invest in making sure it is the best it can be, and sharing that desire with family and friends this holiday season.

 

Source: The NPD Group / Weekly Retail Tracking Service



August 8, 2017

The Power of a Back-to-College Connection

Excitement and happiness are present for many of today’s back-to-college shoppers, but they also report feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, especially as moving day gets closer.  Combined with the fact that only 37 percent of parents/guardians of college students said they give their student a budget to limit the amount they spend on back-to-school shopping, there is clearly opportunity among these consumers. Manufacturers and retailers with on and off-campus-ready products have barely scratched the surface of their potential to help reduce some of the uncertainty among future college students, and their parents, while also growing their own sales and brand loyalty.

Employ Technology: Put technology to work and link the needs and guidelines for each college to in-store and online promotional efforts. Make your brand a stress-free solution to the consumer’s back-to-college research and planning for both on and off-campus living.

Provide Visual Checklists: Real-life store displays and online images depicting various coordinated college-living scenarios can act as a visual checklist for shoppers, and take some of the guesswork out of the process.

Utilize Events & Incentives: Bring college students and their parents together while providing a fun and productive experience. Educational and promotional in-store events can help back-to-college consumers understand what their budget should look like, and allow them to stretch their dollar a little further.

Eliminate Logistics Concerns: A retailer who can deliver directly to college students’ rooms, and do so as they arrive on campus, will get a top grade from back-to-college shoppers.  Eliminate the worry of how to transport new dorm décor from home, or the need to recruit friends to move a compact refrigerator from the car or an on-campus drop off point, and get it all to their dorm room.

Word of mouth is one of the primary methods for students to prepare for college. As back-to-college shoppers talk to their friends, you want to be the resource they promote in their social circles.  Retailers and manufactures can help retain more of the excitement and happiness of this major life moment and doing so will help them capture this consumer base as they mature into future life stages. It’s about connecting with the consumer, and connecting with their back-to-college needs.

 

Source: The NPD Group / LAB Series: 2017 Back-to-School Report



June 8, 2017

A Long-Term Proposition

The general thinking around healthy-living has evolved. Instead of “going on a diet,” which is a short-term behavior, more people seem to be thinking of their diet in the broader sense and are focused on eating more healthfully, which for them is  a longer-term proposition. This mindset shift is playing out in many home appliance and housewares products.

I’ve been tracking how people eat and drink for nearly 20 years, and when the focus is on being healthy the consumer’s response always indicates a need for more fruit, vegetables, and exercise. Blending and processing products seem to be the perfect solution to address the first two, and even the third if you think about an on-the-go lifestyle. However, blender/mixer/chopper systems and countertop blenders have been on the decline. Dollar sales of the multi-function blending systems were down 7 percent in the 12 months ending March 2016, and another 11 percent in the 12 months ending March 2017*. Traditional counter-top blenders have seen double-digit declines over the past two years*. How can this be?

According to NPD’s Eating Patterns In America, dieting has been declining slightly over the past few years, and doing so across the generations. NPD’s Dieting Monitor also shows that in each of the first three months of 2017, fewer consumers are dieting than during the same time last year. This does not bode well for products that market themselves around a dieting-related behavior, like making smoothies has become. 

Dieting has evolved from an activity to a lifestyle change. This is why dollar sales of traditional food processors (+9%), hand blenders (+17%), and even non-electric kitchen gadgets focused on chopping, slicing, and coring (+3%) are all growing. Consumers are focused on integrating more fruits and vegetables into their normal diet, making them ingredients  in the healthy foods and meals they are preparing. This way of thinking makes products like multi-cookers very appealing to consumers and sales show it – dollar sales increased by more than 50 percent a year for the past two years.

The “diet” isn’t dead, but the long-term mindset that is emerging around healthy lifestyles is the real opportunity for marketers. Consumers will be more willing to invest more in small kitchen electrics and food prep products that help them achieve their long-term goal of a healthier lifestyle rather than spend money on products that fill a ‘for now’ need. Marketers who embrace the healthy lifestyle proposition consumers are adopting will realize lasting results as well.

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service


February 9, 2017

Will a Holiday Hero be a 2017 Trailblazer?

When many key general merchandise categories struggled to meet holiday sales of the previous year, let alone beat them, home products categories proved to be a key component of retail sales success during Holiday 2016. Over the nine weeks of the Holiday 2016 shopping season, starting the first week in November and continuing through the last week in December, small home appliance dollar sales gained more than 3 percent over Holiday 2015 results. Ending 2016 on such a positive note among mixed reviews of sales and spending results should have the home-products industry kicking off 2017 with serious momentum, right? It will if we pay attention to what the consumer’s behavior told us during the holiday shopping season.

There were a few categories that really brought it home (pun intended) this holiday season in terms of sales gains versus last holiday season. Robotic vacuums led the way, more than doubling their Holiday 2015 season sales, along with hot-air stylers that also multiplied last year’s sales many times over, and vacuum sealers nearly doubled last year’s results.  Other big winners during Holiday 2016, each with significant double-digit gains over the prior holiday season, were hand and stick vacuums, hair dryers, and cookers (especially multi-cookers, pressure cookers, and fryers). All of these results tell me that consumers are looking for more convenient ways to approach life’s tasks as well as some technology and innovation behind those product promises – that is exactly what many products in these high-growth categories are delivering.

On the flip side, some traditionally strong categories, like upright vacuums, blenders/processors, and electric shavers, had strong unit performance during this past holiday season but dollar sales declined. This could indicate that consumers are returning to the basics and looking for fewer bells and whistles. More likely, given the signals sent by those categories with strong sales gains, is that the bells and whistles that are currently being offered by these products aren’t ringing with enough value for consumers to up their spend on them – these sales may have been driven, in part, by promotion.

Home-products performed well and Thanksgiving week was the peak sales period for small home appliances. However, in spite of this and the early and endless promotions, last-minute shoppers still played a big role in the industry’s success during the final weeks this year’s holiday season. The home-products industry wasn’t alone in this seeming lack of holiday shopping urgency. As my colleague, Marshal Cohen, said in his recent blog, “Retail needs to show consumers something they don’t want to miss out on.” We have become so reliant on playing the price game that, as an industry, we have forgotten how to be innovative in our approach to product development and how to be creative problem-solvers when thinking about product marketing.

It has become my mantra, and it is worth repeating – right now, the home-products industry is poised for significant growth. Millennials and Baby Boomers are both entering new life stages that impact their in-home needs, and purchase behavior over this past holiday shopping season clearly shows that consumers are willing to spend on products for the home.  Now it is up to manufacturers and retailers to pay attention to the signals. We need to deliver the innovation and excitement that consumers are asking for and the benefits to everyday life that they need. We need to learn from Holiday 2016 and build on that momentum in 2017 and beyond.



February 7, 2017

Holiday Performance Extended Year of Growth in Small Appliance Market

2016 was a great year in the Kitchen Electrics market, ending the year up +6% in dollars, with dollar growth in all but four of the Kitchen Electrics categories NPD measures. A large factor in the overall performance for 2016 was the fact that Q4 was up +7%. November-December, the months most important to the holidays, were also up 7% vs. the same period last year, accompanied by +1% overall unit growth.

Vacuum growth was driven by Stick and Robotic Vacuums, with Stick up 28% in during the two key holiday months.  Personal Care overall growth was +5% YoY, with strong growth in Hair Dryers, and Men’s Trimmers.

Total Coffee is seeing continued strength, up +4% in November-December, ending the year +6%. Units in November-December grew +2%, with Auto Drip and Espresso combined picking up most of the unit volume. Espresso makers were a particularly hot item in Nov-Dec, up over 30% compared to last year. If you were watching the flyers during this timeframe you couldn’t help but notice the hot promotions in this category, and clearly they moved the needle.

One product to watch in the coming year is Multi-cookers. The Cookers category (including slow cookers, rice cookers, steamers, fryers, roaster ovens and multi-cookers) grew 20% in November-December. Many of these categories in Cookers are growing, but Multi-cookers have more than doubled dollar sales in 2016. Multi-cookers were also near the top YoY dollar growth categories in all Small Appliances. The category builds on the trend we’ve observed for a while now – growth in devices aimed at reducing time spent on food prep – or even handling the whole process or reducing it to a few steps – slow cookers, toasters, breakfast sandwich makers, and blenders are similar examples.

Overall for Small Appliances, 2016 was the strongest revenue year in the last four years.  Hopefully 2017 continues to build on this strength.



November 22, 2016

Market to the Moment, Not Just to Millennials

I often get asked, should I focus on Millennials or should I focus on Baby Boomers?  My response is, “Why not both?” They are more alike than most people think.

Yes, there are differences but the untapped opportunity lies in leveraging their similarities – why not capture two sales instead of one? The key thing for home-products marketers to understand is that their approaches should not be exclusive to Millennials. There are similarities across the generations based on their life moments.  Finding ways to leverage the different perspectives of these two consumer groups around their similarities at life moments can lead to creative marketing and a new kind of conversation. 

Healthy-Living

Millennials are very aware of the value of healthy-living, and eating at home. This generation is much more interested in health, and they are more likely to eat fresh, homemade foods than other generations when they were younger. Boomers, like their predecessors when they were this age, are interested in healthy-living to maintain or improve their health, looking towards longevity and enjoying the age they are at.

Kid-Free Zones

Most Millennials are in the pre-kids phase of their lives, and most Baby Boomers are becoming empty-nesters or retiring, so both groups have more “me time”.  As a result, many Millennials and Boomers are spending more time looking for experiences. They are interested in more homemade food preparation and at-home entertaining – as a result, they are stocking or restocking their kitchens.

Balancing Individuality and Value

Millennial interest in individuality and environment will drive them to personalize their space and the experiences they create for themselves and those around them. Similarly, Boomers who now find themselves able to focus on their own wants and needs rather than that of their children, are seeking ways to express their personal style and create a space that is about them.

Both of these generations are watching their spending, but they are willing to spend. Boomers have new-found spending power as their kids leave home and a desire to focus on themselves, while staying fiscally responsible. On the other hand, the Millennial generation is low on income. But Millennials balance price with the importance they place on how their purchases define them, so ‘value’ becomes a part of the equation. This balancing act that both of these generations are engaged in is a driving force behind the fact that four of the top five small appliance categories are growing fastest in the $100-$200 range, rather than the under $100 segment.

The home-products industry will grow because of the demographic changes about to hit us as Millennials enter their first critical life stages. But, how high that growth is will be defined by our ability to execute effective products, marketing, and merchandising that meets their needs, while not losing sight of our other customers. The Millennial conversation needs to turn into a multi-generational conversation that is about life’s key moments. Engaging the consumer in this kind of conversation enables marketers to extend their reach beyond a single target audience and attract them to products in a more personal way.


July 28, 2015

Grabbing Your Fair Share of the Back-to-College Pie

With the back-to-college spend estimated to reach $6.6 billion this year, competition among retailers is already heating up like nothing I recall in recent memory. In order to capture their fair share of the sales pie, retailers are pulling out all the stops, developing college registries and wish lists, providing product recommendations, and in-store pick-up options convenient to the college location, to name a few.  National retailers have even posted packing lists specific to a wide range of colleges and universities, detailing approved/unapproved items, or struck deals to operate co-branded websites for everything from textbooks to ramen noodles.

It should come as no surprise that the biggest chunk of planned back-to-college spend is on electronics, followed by apparel, and footwear; but let’s not overlook the market opportunity for home-related products, which is estimated at $1 billion annually for home textiles and small appliances alone. 2 That’s nearly 15 percent of the total back-to-college spend, and doesn’t even include housewares, décor, and furnishings. Clearly, there’s plenty of reason to give attention to home products during the back-to-college season.  In the small appliance world, back-to-college is the key selling period for compact refrigerators, and, to a smaller degree, countertop microwave ovens and electric kettles. 3

Another area of opportunity for the home industry lies in aligning the online shopping experience with the equally important in-store experience (at least half of shoppers still prefer a physical store experience4). Retailers vying for the attention of consumers know consistent messaging and coordination of complementary promotions across these two channels is critical to success.

While we can expect most customers to be price sensitive as they gear up to start tuition payments, retailers can also effectively compete on shopping solutions by simplifying their selections, having consistent messaging and promotions both in-store and online, creating the right adjacencies, making recommendations, and providing flexible purchase and delivery options.

1U.S. Census Bureau, October 2013
2Source: The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service, 2014
3Source: The NPD Group, Inc. /Retail Tracking Service, 2014
4Source: TheNPDGroup, Inc. / December 2014 Omnibus


May 28, 2015

Being Green vs. Thinking Green

With the back-to-college spend estimated to reach $6.6 billion this year, competition among retailers is already heating up like nothing I recall in recent memory. In order to capture their fair share of the sales pie, retailers are pulling out all the stops, developing college registries and wish lists, providing product recommendations, and in-store pick-up options convenient to the college location, to name a few.  National retailers have even posted packing lists specific to a wide range of colleges and universities, detailing approved/unapproved items, or struck deals to operate co-branded websites for everything from textbooks to ramen noodles.

It should come as no surprise that the biggest chunk of planned back-to-college spend is on electronics, followed by apparel, and footwear; but let’s not overlook the market opportunity for home-related products, which is estimated at $1 billion annually for home textiles and small appliances alone. 2 That’s nearly 15 percent of the total back-to-college spend, and doesn’t even include housewares, décor, and furnishings. Clearly, there’s plenty of reason to give attention to home products during the back-to-college season.  In the small appliance world, back-to-college is the key selling period for compact refrigerators, and, to a smaller degree, countertop microwave ovens and electric kettles. 3

Another area of opportunity for the home industry lies in aligning the online shopping experience with the equally important in-store experience (at least half of shoppers still prefer a physical store experience4). Retailers vying for the attention of consumers know consistent messaging and coordination of complementary promotions across these two channels is critical to success.

While we can expect most customers to be price sensitive as they gear up to start tuition payments, retailers can also effectively compete on shopping solutions by simplifying their selections, having consistent messaging and promotions both in-store and online, creating the right adjacencies, making recommendations, and providing flexible purchase and delivery options.

1U.S. Census Bureau, October 2013
2Source: The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service, 2014
3Source: The NPD Group, Inc. /Retail Tracking Service, 2014
4Source: TheNPDGroup, Inc. / December 2014 Omnibus



March 24, 2015

The Changing Tides of Coffee

It is an interesting time in the coffee maker market. The total coffee machine market declined in Canada by -15% in dollars YoY in 2014, largely driven by single serve coffee machines, which declined -17% in the same period. The decline was even greater in the fourth quarter.

This makes sense to me. When the single serve coffee market was developing and new, pod coffee machines were a hot gift item. However, now the market is more mature and the number of new customers to the category is declining. In our February Omnibus consumer panel study, we found 42% of respondents currently own a single serve coffee system, and less than half of those consumers intend to replace their machine in the next 3 years. Also, of people without a single serve machine, 75% have no intent to purchase one, and only 10% intend to buy one in the next year. To me, it looks like there aren’t many first time buyers remaining in the single serve machine market.

Despite the single serve market seeming to be moving into a more mature stage, there are some interesting bright spots in the coffee market that point to further opportunities. In my household, my single serve machine has been a gateway into the world of coffee, and I suspect for many other consumers as well. I have friends that use a single serve on weekday mornings for speed, and then use a more time and labour intensive manual method (such as pour over coffee, French press, and cold brewing) on the weekend.

Coffee grinder sales may be an indicator of the growth of these non-electric methods of coffee brewing, having grown 7% in units year over year in 2014. Some of the more exciting products I saw showcased at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago last week included an electric siphon coffeemaker and an electric pour over machine from KitchenAid – making these traditionally manual methods easier for the end user. Drip coffee makers YoY declines have been steadily shrinking since August 2014. If this trend continues, drip coffee may start to recover some of the volume it has lost to single serve over the last few years, and with new innovations bringing premium or gourmet coffee brewing methods into more homes, the coffee world remains exciting as ever.


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