SDAs continue heading for home automation

By Wares Team April 01, 2015 International

The 2015 International Home + Housewares Show was held over 7-10 March, as usual in Chicago. Delegates arriving with a little trepidation due to the harsh winter cold snap that was enveloping North America were pleasantly surprised as temperatures climbed right on cue.

To view a PDF of the complete feature as it appeared in Wares magazine, complete with some of the coolest products from Chicago, click the download button at the bottom of this page.

The International Home + Housewares Show continues to highlight the latest in innovation and design and this year was sold out with 2,115 exhibitors from 46 countries, not to mention an increase in buyer attendance from US and international markets with 60,000+ total attendees from around the globe. 

The Show’s Saturday morning opening was another key factor, supported by the New Exhibitor Preview event, which allowed 60 of the no less than 442 new exhibitors to engage with buyers and news media in advance of the official opening.

As usual, the show also included a series of thought-provoking educational sessions, including keynote programs on the convergence of housewares and giftware, colour trends by Lee Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, an overview of consumer trends by Tom Mirabile of Lifetime Brands, and former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking at the annual Industry Breakfast.

In addition, the Innovation Theater offered almost two dozen presentations on social technologies, retail design, branding, intellectual property protection and global lifestyle trends.



With consumers clearly intrigued by the idea of saving time and money without sacrificing convenience, automation, smart home appliances and healthy living were seen as continuing trends.

Transparency Market Research, a global market intelligence company, valued the global home automation market at some US$4.41 billion in 2013 with the expectation it will account for US$21.67 billion in 2020. That’s a more than five-fold increase.

Home automation products have piqued the industry’s interest in smart products that can integrate devices together to centralise, communicate and control multiple appliances within the home. But, while this technology has created a buzz within the industry, the majority of consumers may not be ready for a home that looks like an episode of The Jetsons

Many are concerned about the synergy – or lack thereof – of multiple smart appliances that may not be able to work on the same platform. Yet, in the past few years, consumer interest has increased in products like robotic vacuums that employ smart technology or products like major appliances that can be monitored or controlled by smart phones, tablets or computers. 

The broad umbrella of healthy living, including healthy eating, healthy homes and healthy cleaning, are also proving popular. These categories include smart products that make healthy eating easier, like juicers which save time and ensure healthy choices, or kitchen electrics that appeal to consumers who need to prepare gluten-free or vegan foods.

The Clean, Contain & Sustain segment of the show showed continuing green trends with a multipurpose steam cleaning system pitched as a natural and environmentally safe alternative to using harsh chemicals to clean and sanitise. Reusable dry cleaning bags that are both lightweight, portable and environmentally-friendly. Innovative sponges that feature tiny holes that allow for the use of smaller amounts of soap or cleaning agents.

See the various new products dotted around these pages that we’ve chosen to illustrate all this and do bear in mind that many may not be available in New Zealand.



Thirteen housewares suppliers, ranging from well-established brands to first-time exhibitors, were honoured as winners of the sought-after IHA Innovation Awards. The winners in each of 13 categories were announced on the first day of the show: 

  • Bath & Personal Care: Simplehuman for Adjustable Shower Caddy.
  • Cleaning: FusionBrands for WaveRack.
  • Cook & Bakeware: Frieling USA Inc for BLACK CUBE Cookware.
  • Floor & Carpet Care: Techko Maid Inc for SuperMaid.
  • Home Décor & Gifts: Paint Handy LLC for Paint Handy.
  • Home Organization & Storage: YouCopia for StoraStack.
  • Household Electrics & Home Environment: Miro for CleanPot.
  • Kitchen Electrics: Boyd Coffee Company for Brazen 8 Cup Brew System.
  • Kitchen Hand Tools & Cutlery: IMCG Inc for Butter Mill.
  • Kitchenware: Bruer LLC for Cold Bruer.
  • Personal Care & Home Healthcare: Crane USA, Inc for Mini Travel Humidifier.
  • Pet Products: DOMO Dog Biscuit Maker.
  • Tabletop: Metrokane Inc for Rabbit Push Muddler.

Congratulations to these winners; they are excellent representatives of the cutting-edge innovation and creativity that is driving the housewares industry today,” said Phil Brandl, IHA President & CEO. 

“Based on the efforts of these and other design-focused companies in our industry, consumers are able to fill their homes with innovative products that meet their individual needs and varied lifestyles.”

Once again the International Home & Housewares Show delivered a plethora of new and exciting product and trends continuing to make it a must attend event on the calendar. For more information about exhibitors and the show, visit

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