May 5, 2020
IHA releases letter to the industry

The International Housewares Association (IHA), located in Rosemont, Illinois, released a letter to the industry, which discusses the hard-hit home and housewares industry and changes in consumer behavior that should be taken into consideration as the industry emerges from COVID-19.

Dear Home + Housewares Professional,

Watching the news can give you a pessimistic view of the world in which we currently live. There is no doubt that Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the economy and the livelihoods of millions of people around the globe. But while many companies are struggling to survive, there are others that are performing quite well as we shelter-in-place.

During the week of April 20, I had the opportunity to spend “Zoom” time with seven leaders from home + housewares companies and was encouraged to learn that six of those companies were experiencing positive sales gains over the past several weeks. These conversations gave me hope that some aspects of our industry are doing well. Then came Joe.

Joe Derochowski from The NPD Group conducted a very interesting webinar last week that explored actual sales statistics behind the home + housewares industry, pointing out the product categories and subcategories that have shown actual growth over the past several weeks. If you didn’t get the opportunity to see the webinar, I would highly encourage you to take time to watch and listen to what Joe has to say. That webinar, along with several others that focus on current events, can be viewed on the IHA homepage at

So, what did Joe say exactly? Here are a few highlights that are really encouraging:

  • Small appliance sales grew every week from March 15 through April 18
  • Sales increases are being led by home environment and kitchen electrics categories with 74% of kitchen electrics’ subcategories experiencing growth
  • Although initially down, housewares and personal care sales have increased in recent weeks with 42% of housewares and 29% of personal care subcategories experiencing growth
  • The positive trendline for housewares and personal care is expected to continue

Joe also shared insights into changes in consumer behavior that we should take very seriously as the world and our industry emerge from the COVID-19 season into the post-lockdown economy. Learning from recent events and applying that knowledge into future product development will help drive our industry forward. I again encourage you to listen to all that Joe had to say. Aspects of the home + housewares industry have been hit hard by Coronavirus with many of our friends and colleagues being negatively impacted. But at the same time, it is encouraging to look at recent data that shows hope.

Our industry has persevered through other economic downturns, and we will persevere through this time as well. We may emerge a bit differently than before, but we will emerge!

Keep fighting!

Derek Miller

IHA President

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