14 January 2020
Reflecting the shift from functional home design to aspirational lifestyle development the International Home and Housewares Show (IHA), Chicago has rebranded to ‘The Inspired Home’ for their 2020 show. Their name change responds to the way the whole industry needs to adapt to the changes in consumer shopping behaviours.
Our Trend Consultant Kate Usher discusses more around this topic in addition to her upcoming talks at The Inspired Home show on Sunday, March 15th at 9:30 in the Innovation Theater and in her closing keynote at The Inspired Home Influencer Conference on Friday 13th March at 16:15.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
Usually, our customers tell us their biggest challenge is deciding which trends to respond to or invest in, without knowing how long they will last, or how relevant or appropriate they will be for their consumer. Having strong customer profiles or a strong Aesthetic DNA™ (the distinguishing stylistic product features unique to a brand) can help and makes it easier for brands to apply their own lens over a trend and decide if it is right for them.
Timeliness is also important, often brands can spend so long developing a product that they are late to market and miss cashing in on a trend before it peaks. Getting products in store quick enough to leverage can be a real challenge. It can be equally as damaging to go too early with a trend. Some brands misjudge the social mood, and their customer might not be receptive yet to that type of product, resulting in poor sales.
We work on a bespoke level with lots of companies, to help them execute trends in a timely manner, ensuring they stay ahead of the curve without being too niche or too directional for their consumer.
What will you be speaking about and how this topic is important for show audiences.
I’ll be exploring the big shifts in consumer lifestyles, attitudes and behaviours that are influencing design for the home and how these result in colour and design trends for householders in 2021. These trends will provide valuable foresight for anyone involved in producing, selling or marketing products for the home, providing inspiration for colour, material, shape and pattern as well as functionality.
What is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work?
I travel frequently around the globe for my job and I am fascinated by other cities and absorbing different ideas, cultures and attitudes. As a trend forecaster, you stay constantly tuned in to what is going on, keeping your eyes and ears open to the latest art exhibitions, new commercial spaces or retail environments and shifts in how people are thinking, spending or behaving. The most rewarding part of my role is being able to piece together these ‘weak signals’ like small parts of the puzzle, to paint a bigger picture of what these might mean for the future of life at home.
The Inspired Home Show, held annually in Chicago USA, features more than 2,100 exhibitors across home accessories, appliances, kitchen and serveware. Kate will be running trend briefings at The Inspired Home Influencer Conference on Friday 13th March at 16:15 and at The Inspired Home Show on Sunday, March 15th at 09:30.
We’ll also be available throughout the show for 1:1 consultations to help you gain a deeper insight into how and why trend forecasting can impact your business and help your brand capitalise on change. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to arrange a complimentary trend consultation.
We send the bespoke trend reports out to different departments in our organisation from product development to digital and customer teams. The report acts as internal inspiration that everyone can read and get something from. The feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive.
It looks like this account is being used in multiple regions.