Seven product trends from 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."
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
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.
• 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.
• 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.
The National Hardware Show runs through Oct. 23.