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10/20/2021

Seven product trends from Las Vegas

From the aisles of the National Hardware Show, a ‘Lucky 7’ list of trends.
a store inside of a building
Inside the new West Hall: an exploration of the new and noteworthy

LAS VEGAS — The National Hardware Show is back in action. And while there may have been fewer exhibitors than in recent years — blame Covid-19 — there are still more products assembled under one roof here at the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center than just about anywhere else at any one time.

And according to Rich Russo, of RX (Reed Exhibitions), hosts of the show, there's a sense of purpose among buyers and sellers at the 2021 event. “The people who are here are here to do business," he said. 

[For more from the show, read 'Hammer Time' at NHS.]

All the elements were in place for discovery, and HBSDealer editors took to the aisles in search of the new and noteworthy. In full disclosure: we couldn't see everything. But a handful of trends emerged from the effort. Let’s call those trends the “Lucky 7.”

In no particular order, here are seven product trends from the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

• Don't touch

Perhaps inspired by a new pandemic-induced awareness of germs or perhaps inspired by convenience, touchless technology made impressive appearances on the show floor. At the Ninestars booth, high-end, tastefully designed trash cans featured touchless technology. And Open Says Me demonstrated a technology with the ability to open a refrigerator door through voice activation. The company's messaging promoted the idea of "empowering everyday lives through voice-activated touchless technology."

indoor,table,sitting,desk,computer,small,box,keyboard,green,office,microwave,refrigerator,monitor,counter,room,glass,desktop,display,bed,standing,kitchen
Ninestars combines stylish with touchless.

• Poison prevention

Organic and natural products designed to grow grass, kill weeds or deter bugs without resorting to harmful chemicals—these kinds of products were in abundance all around the show. A particularly graphic example of this trend toward "non-poisonous products" was at the Goodnature booth, where an all natural rat-and-mouse-trap generated interest. The trap thumps rats in the head with a powerful piston that automatically reloads for the next rat —no poison necessary. 

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The innovative Goodnature rat trap.

• Storage solutions

More time at home for Americans means more time to reorganize out-of-control rooms or closets. Hence, storage and organization is one of the booming areas of home improvement, and that boom was reflected all over the show floor. Among the storage-related booths were Garage Royalty, with its customizable panel system. Use cases for the product have expanded throughout the house during the pandemic. Also, the Drill Dock attaches to any work bucket, giving the contractor or home-owner easy access during any project. 

a pile of luggage sitting on top of a table
The Drill Dock

• Healthy home

The increased awareness among consumers of air quality and water quality inside the home was reflected in a huge array of products promoting these qualities. To give a sense of the breadth here, examples from the floor range from the Nuvo H20 water softening system that relies on the power of citrus (not salt) to SLGI Certified Test Kits for toxic metals, asbestos and lead.

graphical user interface
Nuvo H20 offers a citrus approach to softer water.

• CBD 

Cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical of the Cannabis sativa plant, and CBD oils have been mainstays and major players at trade shows in the drug store and holistic health space. There was at least one example of CBD marketing on the show floor: a dog treat called Suzie's CBD Hearts. The family company named the product for a beloved dog, who is said to have benefited from CBD during her life.

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Suzie's CBD Soft Chews for dogs.

• Maximizing resources.

This trend can also be described as 'products that make the most of what you got.' In the paint category, the Touch Up Cup, invented by a 16-year-old entrepreneur, keeps paint fresh in easy to store plastic cups. A mixing ball inside the cup helps prevent the paint from going stale. At the Sprayer Saver booth, no drop of paint is wasted as a special base tilts paint buckets to maximize the flow of paint through a sprayer. 

a close up of a blender
The Sprayer Saver tilts paint cans to avoid waste.

• Giving back

Giving back to the community and service to others were themes running through the hardware presentations at the National Association of Hardware & Paint convention. And some products are following suit. Consider Bish's Original Tear Mender and  RapidFix, booth of which are brands owned by Lighthouse for the Blind-St. Louis. The company employs 48 legally blind people in two assembly plants in St. Louis County. 

a woman wearing a hat
Bish's Original Tear Mender: for the repair of clothing.

The National Hardware Show runs through Oct. 23.

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