After an unpredictable past several years, the home and housewares industry is primed for market stability and eager to celebrate the next wave of enduring growth, according to the 2024 HomePage News Occasions Report and collaborative 2024 At-Home Entertaining Report.

Results from the 2024 IHA Occasions Survey and At-Home Entertaining Survey, conducted in partnership with market researcher, Morning Consult, underscore the product development, marketing and sales opportunities available to the home and housewares industry by serving key life moments and increasing frequency of at-home entertaining.

The reports present data-backed insights on why and how retailers and suppliers should consider and prioritise their roles as gift providers for major life events such as weddings, new home purchases, birth of children, off-to-school and retirement events, as well as annual occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries, and ‘anytime moments’ when families and friends want to turn just another day into a time to celebrate.

“The pandemic and its economic aftermath scrambled long-established occasion-marking and in-home gathering traditions,” IHA director of marketing, Dawn Evans said.

“Results of these complementary consumer surveys chronicle how consumers have rescheduled and reimagined key life events as they settle into a new groove and how their reinvigorated zest for at-home entertaining shows no signs of abating. That has created a wide, new sweet spot for the housewares industry to connect with consumers in a celebratory mood.”

Much discussion surrounds the wariness of shoppers to spend discretionary dollars, but in the 2024 Occasions Report, survey participants demonstrated that they remain willing to spend when it comes to festive occasions. Although the numbers aren’t dramatically above those generated in last year’s study, responses demonstrated significant enthusiasm for spending on occasions in the coming 12 months versus 2023.

In demographic terms, the youngest adults were most willing to spend on gifts, especially housewares gifts for occasions in the upcoming year. Consumers in the age range of 35 to 44 followed. In terms of household income, the most affluent consumers were the ones most likely to anticipate participation in an occasion over the next few months, but middle-class households were right behind them.

Entertaining at home becoming the new normal

The At-Home Entertaining Survey was first conducted in 2022 and results were used in a collaborative way to expand on the 2023 Occasions Report. The survey was conducted again in 2023 and the results published in its own report.

Eight-out-of-10 consumers expect to entertain at home in the coming year, continuing and building on the trend from last year. “Because of this, we strongly feel that at-home entertaining is the new normal and is here to stay,” Evans said. “In fact, it’s become part of our lifestyle and natural behaviour as consumers still have great enthusiasm for inviting people into their homes.”

The survey shows that almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents are planning more intimate gatherings of 10 or fewer people and two-thirds (67%) plan to prepare the food themselves versus catering the event.