Convenience Products Headline Housewares Show

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CHICAGO -Products that enhance the creature comforts of home will dominate the offerings at next week's 2001 International Housewares Show.

The event, which runs Jan. 14-17 at McCormick Place, here, is expected to reflect the casual-living trend that has been driving sales of housewares for the past several years, reports the International Housewares Association, the show's sponsor.

Indeed, the themes of comfort, convenience and escape from everyday routine show no sign of abating, the trade group said. According to consumer research compiled by Riedel Marketing Group, although Americans are eating at home more now than they did two years ago, the amount of time spent cooking hasn't necessarily increased. Instead, consumers are taking home precooked meals for reheating, or cooking a variety of dishes at one time and freezing some for later use.

The need for convenient products isn't limited to the kitchen, the association added. Although Americans want their homes to be clean, they want to spend as little time as possible doing housecleaning chores.

Other factors favoring an uptick in housewares demand are the aging of Generation X and Generation Y, whose members are now creating their own households, plus increases in home sales, homeownership rates and the value of residential construction, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

What does this portend for the Housewares show? According to the association, buyers can expect to find the following new products and trends at McCormick:

  • Multidimensional cooking appliances that combine radiant, conduction and convection technologies to make cooking faster and easier.
  • And ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture featuring multiple components that can be configured in multiple ways.

Majap makers are also using the event as a platform for introductions. Debuts include LG Electronics' first line of appliances to appear in the United States under its corporate name, rather than the more familiar GoldStar brand.

The new LG line, which ships during the second quarter, includes its first-ever washing machines; its first full-size refrigerators within the U.S. market; a new contingent of room air conditioners featuring a plasma surface modification feature to cut down on condensation; and a microwave oven line with a True Cook-Plus feature that "reads" on-package cooking instructions.

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