Frankfurt’s Ambiente served notice that the housewares trade has refueled its quest for new products to drive the retail recovery as the full gamut of U.S. retailers that shopped the fair were rewarded with plenty to begin mapping out 2011 assortments.
Surrounding pockets of breakthrough innovation in Frankfurt was a more evident effort by housewares manufacturers to refurbish the basics with enhanced functionality and splashes of fresh color and shape— perhaps an effort to value-add the looming price increases that most in the industry agree can no longer be suppressed.
With the “green” trend that colored Ambiente the previous couple of years by now commonly evident among the fair’s exhibits, this year’s show presented a unified push to reinforce housewares as the glue for reconnecting consumers with their homes and families. Facilitating the do-it-yourself trend— which encompasses such reset consumer priorities as economy, convenience, health, personalization, sustainability and entertainment— was a thread that linked cookware to kitchen tools to on-the-go beverageware to open-stock tableware to storage to cleaning implements.
“This industry is becoming very responsive to consumers who want to express themselves but don’t necessarily have or believe they have a lot of talent to do it,” said Rick Agresta, president of iSi North America. “Retailers [at Ambiente]were excited to see the new products,” Agresta added. “This wasn’t just a social call; they were here to do business and to keep the positive momentum going.”
Look for more Ambiente coverage and photos in the March 7 edition of HomeWorld Business.