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Licensed Housewares at IHHS

Retail sales of licensed housewares goods in the U.S. and Canada grew a 1.5% in 2015 after a flat perfomance in 2014, according to The Licensing Letter’s Annual Licensing Business Survey. And as consumer confidence in the economy grows, sales are only expected to increase. The International Home + Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago offers a glimpse of licensing activity in housewares for 2016.

Here are some of the new licensed goods featured at IHHS:

  • Spectrum Brands Holdings debuted a variety of home appliances from Black+Decker, George Foreman and Juiceman brands as well as personal care products from Remington.
  • Montel Williams is launching his own brand, Living Well with Montel, unveiled by his new company Living Well Products.
  • Unibrands debuted MasterChef-inspired BBQ grilling sets and accessories, new for 2016
  • For the first time, Wicked Cool Toys showed at IHHS, showing its MasterChef Junior themed cooking sets.

Housewares licensing is often associated with properties emanating from the artist, fashion designer, celebrity (especially chefs), and entertainment/character sectors. And while such brands are prolific (see Martha Stewart), the bulk of activity is from housewares brands extending their names and designs into other areas of the home.

Overall Retail Trends

Although licensed housewares make up only 2.8% of sales in the U.S. and Canada, the category is ripe for growth. Because of the preponderance of long-term deals rather than “hot” items, the average royalty rate is significantly lower than for the business as a whole.

Per The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, spending in 2016 will be driven by products related to home remodeling, improvements and renovations. And the biggest drivers of growth, according to The NPD Group, are millennials and boomers who are entering new life stages. Per Lora Morsovillo, President of NPD’s Home division, millennials contributed to 61% of the gains in small-appliance dollar sales in 2015, and boomers 61% of the increase in sales of non-electric housewares plus 66% of the growth in home textiles sales. The fastest areas of growth in small appliances were hand/stick vacuums (20%). In home textiles the distinction went to bed ensembles (15%). Finally, in non-electric housewares the fastest gains were from portable beverageware (30%).


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