Home storage continues to be among the hottest housewares segments after a pandemic-fueled sales surge that has lifted the value of responsive, flexible organization solutions.
With the unexpected homebound lifestyle shift came the need to reorganize and adjust home spaces.
“The home storage category was off the charts in 2020 versus 2019, especially with consumers at home during the height of the pandemic and 2021 continues to be steady,” said Steve Greenspon, president, Honey-Can-Do, a manufacturer of household storage solutions. Greenspon recently raised the minimum wage for Honey-Can-Do warehouse workers to $15.50 per hour to support its current team’s efforts and to help retain talent in advance of what the company forecasts to be a strong 2022.
The home storage category was off the charts in 2020 versus 2019, especially with consumers at home during the height of the pandemic and 2021 continues to be steady.”
-Steve Greenspon, president, Honey-Can-Do
Greenspon said the company saw notable growth in shelving units and laundry storage needs, while sales of ironing boards and accessories were down. He said this reflected new homebound consumer habits — more laundry yet fewer occasions for ironing.
Lauren Greenwood, president of Youcopia, a manufacturer of specialty household storage solutions, said overall sales in the storage and organization category beat expectations in 2020.
“For us, fall 2020 was particularly strong in what is normally an off-season, and January 2021 was our biggest one yet,” she said. “For us, food storage, fridge and freezer and under-sink organization all performed quite well.”
This, Greenwood said reflected a consumer’s increased activity around cooking and cleaning at home. She added the pandemic created a major shift in how consumers use and view the storage goods they need and want.
Features of adjustability, expandability and customization are critical in assuring the consumer that the product will fit their unique needs and spaces. It’s more important than ever to make every inch of storage space functional for busy homes.
-Lauren Greenwood, president of YouCopia
For example, out of necessity, spaces in the home were transformed into offices, school zones, gaming rooms, fitness centers, hobby centers, and often, some combination thereof. For many consumers, these new “zones” were shared spaces, and storage adaptable to specific needs became the major driver in the category.
“Our internal market research suggests ‘right fit’ is a top purchase driver, above being well-made, easy to use/clean and pricing,” Greenwood said. “So, features of adjustability, expandability and customization are critical in assuring the consumer that the product will fit their unique needs and spaces. It’s more important than ever to make every inch of storage space functional for busy homes.”
Honey-Can-Do’s Greenspon added that consumers need options that work and grow with them as they continue to adapt to new routines, many of which are now a hybrid of what they were pre-Covid and during the height of the pandemic.
“Consumers are using their homes for more activities than they have in the past as it has become their office, their gym, primary source of entertainment and more,” Greenspon said. “As a result, they are seeking more innovative ways to store things as the same room may be used for multiple purposes.”
When it comes to planning storage programs for 2022, YouCopia’s Greenwood said marketers and retailers need to modify their messages to consumers.
“Storage and organization is no longer a commodity category — that was decided during the pandemic,” she said. “It’s not enough to offer the ‘good’ basics at low pricing. Consumers are looking for specific, customizable, better/best solutions that can be easily implemented for long-term benefits at home.”
Translating that message for shoppers requires inspiring content and positive marketing communications, Greenwood said. Perhaps more important, she added, is the right mix of products to solve contemporary storage problems.
“It is essential to provide the right organizing tools that deliver wins for the consumer, so they learn to trust your store as the authority in home organization,” she said.
Greenspon added the proper level of transparency about product availability will be key as the industry moves ahead with 2022 planning without an immediate resolution to supply-chain disruption.
“We are all in the same boat, so to speak,” he said. “No one can guarantee 100 percent of their inventory right now, so it is important to communicate with one another and the consumer about what is possible.”
Greenspon said retail buyers need to create store and organization programs that are achievable given the current supply challenges while meeting consumer needs and demands.