Consciousness, connectivity and creativity are top of mind for today’s consumers, according to authors of the 2022 International Housewares Association (IHA) Market Watch report. 

New proprietary research with insights into consumer mindsets, as well as opportunities for the housewares industry, were shared in a keynote session at The Inspired Home Show 2022, IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market. Owned and operated by IHA, the Show was held March 5 to 7 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“We took a deep dive into the attitudes and value sets of consumers with a survey conducted in January of 2022. Our goal is not to be prescriptive in terms of ‘This is exactly what you should do to reach consumers.’ Our goal is to provide some insights into what you might want to be looking at as we move into the next year,” IHA vice president of marketing, Leana Salamah said.

Salamah was joined by fellow Market Watch authors Springboard Futures principal, Tom Mirabile and The NPD Group vice president and home industry advisor, Joe Derochowski. HomePage News editor-in-chief, Peter Giannetti moderated the discussion.


Conscious consumers are deliberate, considered purchasers who are constantly evaluating why this product, why this brand and why now. They are highly attuned to issues including health and wellness, social responsibility and reclaiming time/effort. While wellness can mean many different things to different people, survey respondents ranked mental wellness as most important (77%) and physical wellness next (73%).

While there is a lot of positive momentum as the world opens and Covid restrictions are lifted, Mirabile pointed out that a good deal of stress remains for many people. “We’re not over it yet,” he said.

Social responsibility is also important to today’s consumer. Safe and healthy working environments for employees (84%) ranked highest, followed by development of sustainable products (72%) and diversity and inclusion (67%).

While many companies promote what they’re doing for employee work environments in business-to-business marketing, there is significant opportunity for brands to leverage this in their consumer marketing, Salamah said.

In addition, the conscious consumer is interested in reclaiming time and focusing their energies on what they love. When making purchase decisions, they are most interested in ease of use (92%), speed (83%) and more control (78%). “This is all about keeping what you love in your life and eliminating friction. For so many of us, time is friction,” Mirabile said.


Creative consumers are excitable and passionate about variety, flexibility and learning. They are highly attuned to experimentation, fluidity, reinvention of home and self and the acquisition of new skills. The survey found that consumers have a strong desire to change many aspects of their homes.

“Understanding there’s a great desire to make change is the first step,” Giannetti said. The next step is giving consumers a way to make those changes more accessible.

Accessorising or giving people the ability to make incremental changes or updates to their homes is one way to do just that, Salamah said.

Another way to allow consumers to try new things without buying each new product outright is rental.  While older generations expressed less interest, Millennials said they were interested in renting products, with bakeware, seasonal home décor and kitchen electrics on the top of their lists.

Rental, or more industry-generated options to purchase refurbished or second-hand products, might gain steam in the future especially as technology changes so quickly, making it more difficult to pay full-price every time, Derochowski said.


Connected consumers like to bring people, products/functions and brands together and see results. They are highly attuned to inter-personal relations, ingenuity/cleverness and sociability/shareability.

The Market Watch authors agreed smart home hasn’t taken off the way many thought it would have by now, in part due to quickly changing technology and in part because some smart products have technology just for the sake of it and are not necessarily solving a consumer pain point.

Also, consumers have trouble conceptualising, so the industry needs to make it easier for consumers to see and understand how a smart product can help them, Derochowski said.

According to IHA’s survey, consumers are most looking for smart products to help them with automatic cleaning, coordinating meal elements, detecting and suggesting recipes, detecting expired or empty products, detecting and ordering parts and identifying calorie counts and macros.

Product areas with the biggest increases in expected purchases in 2022 over 2021 are security (42% vs 31%), home environment (38% vs 28%), meal prep (24% vs 14%), health (29% vs 20%) and cleaning (32% vs 24%).