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‘Now Normal’ at IHA Connect SPRING

The IHA (International Housewares Association) has revealed an exciting line-up of virtual events for next month’s Connect SPRING (March 16-26. Topics include consumer and housewares trends post-pandemic, the ‘now normal’, retailing post-Covid, diversity and inclusion, the future of the smart home, and seasonal trends for 2021.

PrintBeginning on Tuesday March 16 and running every weekday to Friday, March 26, Connect SPRING will offer a mix of keynote and education sessions, virtual product demonstrations, IHA Market Watch trends and Ask the Experts consultations. IHA (organiser of The Inspired Home Show in Chicago) has created the event in partnership with The NPD Group and Springboard Futures.

“The primary goal of Connect SPRING is to connect buyers and sellers around new product innovations, education and expertise that address the evolving and emerging consumer needs from this unprecedented past year, providing direction for the road ahead,” explained Derek Miller, IHA president. “By the time the August 2021 Show is held, it will have been 29 months since the industry has been able to convene in a meaningful way. All of the retailers and suppliers with whom we regularly communicate are telling us that there is an immediate need to connect in Q1 of 2021, and we created Connect SPRING to meet this need.”

Connect SPRING will open with the keynote: 2020 in the Rearview Mirror by Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at The NPD Group, offering a look at how the year ended for the housewares industry, including a recap of category, channel and holiday specific outcomes.

Other keynotes include: The Now Normal: Minding What Mattersby Tom Mirabile, principal and co-founder, Springboard Futures. Tom’s consumer insights will contribute to successful strategies for housewares product development, assortment planning, sales and service initiatives, and even supply chain management.

Featuring a panel of NPD Group industry advisors, Lessons from Across Industries will discuss: What lessons can the housewares industry learn from those who had to think differently in order to survive?

Above: Lee Eiseman, speaking at a previous show in Chicago.
Above: Lee Eiseman, speaking at a previous show in Chicago.

Always hugely popular when addressing her show audiences in Chicago, Lee Eiseman, executive director for Pantone Colour Institute is asking: How has the pandemic affected consumers’ desire for colour in their homes and lifestyles?

Show w IHAEducation sessions include: The Post-COVID Consumer and Retail Renaissance: Driving Sales Through Experience.  Each day’s schedule will also include virtual product demonstrations showcasing new and innovative products that address specific consumer-oriented themes. These one-hour sessions will each feature eight companies and their product(s) related to a different theme. Various themes include Cleanliness, Outdoor Living, Boredom Busters and Smart Home.

There is no charge to home and housewares professionals to register for Connect SPRING, and attendees may sign up for all or individual sessions.  For more information or to register, go to

Top: Connect SPRING intends to bridge the gap before The Inspired Home Show in Chicago. Pictured is Gosili, an exhibitor at the 2019 show.

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