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IHA Strategy Focuses on Show Rebuild and Member Services

Two-day Strategic Planning Meeting Codifies International Housewares Association’s Direction:
Rebuilding the Show Based on 2022 Enthusiasm, Continuing to Offer Member Services to Support Industry

Members of IHA’s Board of Directors and several past Chairs gathered together along with senior IHA staff to review the results of The Inspired Home Show 2022 and to discuss strategic direction for IHA, the Show and other IHA member services for 2023 and beyond.

After a review of Association activities over the last two years, results of The Inspired Home Show 2022 and feedback from the Show’s Exhibitor Trade Show Advisory Committee and three Retail Advisory Councils – all of which stressed the importance of an annual face-to-face event – the Board unanimously agreed that rebuilding The Inspired Home Show back to pre-pandemic levels will be the primary focus of the Association.

“We were one of the brands that sat out of The Inspired Home Show 2022,” says Rob Michelson, president and CCO, Bradshaw Home and an IHA Board member. “Although Covid concerns made our participation impossible this past year, we are very excited and enthusiastic to get back to the Show in 2023 and rebuild those face-to-face engagements that are critical to our success.”

The meeting began with a thorough review of the 2022 Show, which ended with an approximate 50% turnout from exhibitors and buyers when compared to previous Shows. Although the total number of U.S. buyers was down from previous years, the quality of key retailers in attendance remained very high with verified representatives attending the Show coming from: 99 Cents Only Stores, Ace Hardware, Albertsons / Safeway, Aldi, Amazon, At Home Stores, Bealls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Big Lots, Bloomingdales, C&S Wholesale Grocery, Christmas Tree Shops, Cinmar Frontgate, Cost Plus World Market, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Do It Best, Dollar General, Dollar Tree / Family Dollar, Giant Eagle, Hobby Lobby, Home Shopping Network, Homegoods, Hy-Vee, Imperial Distributors, JCPenney, Kohls, Kroger / Fred Meyer, Macys, Meijer,, Pampered Chef, QVC, Rite Aid, Ross Stores, Rue Gilt Groupe, Sam’s Club, Sur la Table, Target, The Container Store, TJX, True Value, Tuesday Morning, Vermont Country Store, Walgreens, Walmart, Wayfair / CSN, Wegmans, West Elm, Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma and Zulilly.

Additionally, despite COVID-related travel restrictions, verified international buyer attendance was strong with key buyers attending from around the world. A few highlights from Latin America and Europe include: Pao de Acucar (Brazil), Falabella (Chile), Hipermercados Tottus (Chile), Sodimac (Chile), Almacenes Exito (Colombia), Almacenes Flamingo (Colombia), Maximo / Pepe Ganga (Colombia), Sodimac (Colombia), Galeries Lafayette (France), Leroy Merlin (France), Monoprix (France), Home Shopping Europe (Germany), Otto (Germany), Rewe (Germany), City Club Soriana (Mexico), El Palacio de Hierro (Mexico), HEB (Mexico), Liverpool (Mexico), Cesar Arrocha (Panama), Cencosud (Peru), Sodimac (Peru), El Corte Ingles (Spain), COOP (Switzerland), Harrods (UK), Lakeland (UK), Sainsburys / Argos / Habitat (UK) and TJX Europe (UK)

Having done a thorough analysis of the buying audience in attendance, IHA staff provided the Board with the following statistics, which further support the high quality of traffic seen at the Show:

  • 97.3% of 2022 Verified Retailers have Purchase Authority
  • 87.3% of 2022 Verified Retailers are Buyers and/or Executives
  • 25% of 2022 Verified Retailers represent more than $100MM in annual sales
  • More than 33% of Verified Retailers represent 50+ stores
  • More than 25% of Verified Retailers represent 100+ stores

The IHA Board reviewed the new Exhibitor Prospectus, titled Back to Business, which contains additional statistics surrounding The Inspired Home Show.

IHA staff also reviewed the newly rebranded and reimagined Show displays on-site in 2022, including Pantone ColorWatch, gia Global Innovation Awards and the Smart Home and Inventor’s Corner. Events reviewed included Trending Today, the New Exhibitor Preview and the Cooking Theater. With the Board’s unanimous agreement that the Show’s rebranding and the elevation of the displays and events were important to the overall quality of the Show, the enhanced presence of these various elements will continue moving forward.

IHA staff then provided various updates on IHA member services including reports on Industry Networking (CORE, CHESS & the Housewares Credit Group), International Services (IBC, Global Forum & IHSA), Consumer Engagement, Government Affairs and HomePage News. The IHA Board also reviewed the latest IHA Member Connect magazine, which details all member services currently being offered.

IHA’s Board then turned its attention to the strategic planning elements of the meeting, starting with an exercise designed to identify overarching factors that may impact the industry and Association in the months ahead. The Board applied this data to an in-depth scenario planning exercise designed to facilitate discussions around “what-if” scenarios, should they occur, ultimately identifying one scenario that is most likely — a strong Show that is larger than 2022 but smaller than 2019, with a return to pre-COVID levels perhaps taking more than one year.

Following that determination, the Board broke into three distinct groups, each focusing on in-depth discussions:

  • The Inspired Home Show 2023, focused on topics including exhibitor recruitment and retention, buyer recruitment and attention and international participation.
  • IHA Member Services, focused on identifying and developing appropriate activities and events that would increase the member value equation outside of the Show.
  • The Inspired Home Show 2024 & Beyond, focused on strategic partnership opportunities, location, Show length, and day pattern.

Feedback from each small group was then presented to the entire Board for further review and discussion. In order for IHA to be best positioned to meet the needs of the industry moving forward, appropriate direction was also provided to IHA staff so that IHA’s Strategic Plan can be further refined and developed over the coming months.

The Inspired Home Show 2023, which is confirmed to take place at McCormick Place in Chicago on March 4-7, 2023, was the most important topic. Among other logistics, the Board codified the decision to keep the Show in Chicago in 2024, with planned dates of March 16-19, 2024.

Additional details regarding IHA, The Inspired Home Show and Member Services will be released at appropriate times in the months ahead.

Registration for the 2023 Show is available on the Show’s website. Information on applying to exhibit is available here.

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