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Chicago keynote on “buying experiences”

“We need to stop looking at objects and start looking at what those objects deliver,” said Tom Mirabile, trend expert for the International Housewares Association (IHA) in this keynote presentation, Top Trends 2019: New Consumer Insights and How to Thrive in the Retail Revolution’ this week at Chicago’s International Home + Housewares Show (IH+HS March 2-5). He emphasised the increasing significance of buying into lifestyles and aspirations: “People aren’t buying objects, they’re buying experiences.”

Above: A view of the busy IH+HS 2019, which ran from March 2-5.

Tom provided his audience with an overview of generational features and some key points for the housewares industry. Generation Z sees “cooking as a craft or skill” and may be the first generation where cooking is no longer seen as a gendered task, says Tom.

The millennial generation is less likely to eat around the kitchen table and are often replacing one meal a day with snacks. They also “don’t see a brand as a religion,” according to Tom, with loyalty needing to be earned.

Meanwhile, Gen X does more product research than any other generation, while Baby Boomers are typically retiring, moving or remodelling their homes.

Tom provided members of the housewares industry with a series of tenets, which included ‘Be Flexible” (citing how brands such as IKEA and KitchenAid have reinvented themselves) and ‘Be Fun’ (for example, with amusing advertisements.)

“Be Aspirational’ was another of Tom’s tips: “Today’s consumer doesn’t dream of owning, but of becoming.”

“Be Sharable,” he continued, for example, by inspiring families to cook and eat a meal together.

Tom Mirabile’s presentation will be available to view on:

  • In line with the consumer shift towards lifestyle buying, next year, the IH+HS will become The Inspired Home Show (March 14-17 2020). Visit housewares.orgor


Top: Tom Mirabile talking at the IH+HS.

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