Innovate to Stay Ahead
The New York Tabletop Market Week, held at 41 Madison and 7 W New York in late
October, illustrated not only trendy colors and designs, but also how manufacturers
plan to move ahead in the coming decade.
New strategies for selling to independents, new product categories and more
casual, trendy approaches to consumers are just some of the moves well-known companies announced (or are on the verge of announcing).
At the onset of the show, market research company The NPD Group, Inc.
released its own research indicating the casualization trend is still evident
for most tabletop categories; yet, ‘appearance’ is an increasingly important
purchase motivator, moving slightly ahead of ‘price’ as the top reason cited
by consumers. ‘Good value’ rounds out the top three reasons consumers
purchase tabletop items, according to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service.
Some bright spots, according to NPD, so far this year have been crystal
and acrylic or plastic beverageware, accounting for a third of the dollars
in the 12 months ending August 2011, grabbing market share away from
more mainstream products where glass is the primary material. Wine
glasses, champagne glasses and goblets are rising after taking a bit of a
dip in sales the year prior, accounting for 15 percent of the dollars spent
Casual dinnerware and flatware continue to gain market share (up 5 and 4
percentage points, respectively). Serving items, such as platters, bowls and
utensils, all had a good year in the market, thanks to the continued trend of
entertaining at home.
Counter to many other industries, share of online sales is not growing for the
housewares industry overall, signifying the importance of the in-store shopping
experience, which accounts for 75 percent of the tabletop market. Purchasers of
dinnerware, beverageware and flatware prefer seeing and holding the products in
person as part of the decision-making process. NPD also found that the incidence of
buying tabletop items as gifts has declined (from 21 percent to 17 percent), indicating
that more consumers are buying these items for themselves.