Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group reported that U.S. sales of non-electric housewares hit $5.6 billion in the 12 months ended September 2013.
While this is a slight uptick (+0.5%) from the previous year, it is a noteworthy shift after years of sales declines for the industry.
“The apparent leveling of the housewares industry is great to see after being challenged by the economy and shifting consumer behavior for several years,” said Debra Mednick, executive director and home industry analyst, The NPD Group. “If last year, with 37% of annual sales coming from the fourth quarter, is any reflection of what is in store this year, there is real potential for the industry to see a positive finish to 2013. As we finish this holiday season, all eyes will be watching to see if the turnaround continued during this important time.”
Across cooking and prep categories, as well as tabletop products, sales performance over the last year has improved compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, including the two largest categories, cookware and dinnerware. One notable shift in purchasing behavior has been the increase in online sales, up 8%, now representing 15% of total non-electric housewares dollars.
“The increasing shift to online purchasing of items like cookware and dinnerware, which consumers typically prefer to see, touch and feel in person, seems counterintuitive. But it comes as no surprise as more and more retailers, both brick-and-mortar and pureplay e-commerce, invest in their sites and work more closely with manufacturers to improve merchandising,” said Mednick.
“Online is expected to continue to grow, but, will also be used by many as a ‘showroom’. Selling online, if done right, provides consumers with comparative information that often leads to trading up,” continued Mednick.