Home Lifestyle Trends Are Setting New Opportunities for Tabletop Business
April 10, 2024

Lifestyle Trends Are Setting New Opportunities for Tabletop Business

Understanding how emerging lifestyle trends can direct the tabletop market is key to getting ahead of change and maximizing opportunity in the sector, tabletop experts said during a presentation at the recent Inspired Home Show as part of the show’s Inspiration Theater education program.

The panel included Laurie Burns of Burns Consulting and executive director of the Gift and Home Trade Association; Paul Yeomans, publisher of UK-based trade publication Tableware International; and Martha Nading, owner of specialty retailer The Extra Ingredient in Greensboro, NC.

On the manufacturing end, Yeomans (pictured above center) said more tabletop vendors are going to a China-plus-one strategy, seeking manufacturers in other Southeast Asia countries because of the potential impact of cost increases, quality variations and tensions with the U.S. involving China. These circumstances suggest full reliance on China as a source might no longer be a reasonable approach to tabletop manufacturing, Yeomans said.

In terms of global tableware styles, he said after visiting trade shows in Frankfurt and Paris in the weeks ahead of the Inspired Home Show “colored glassware definitely is a trend. I think (it is) in the U.S., too.”

In addition, Yeomans said, fluted glassware, mixed materials in barware and textured dinnerware, as well as blue-and-white and black designs, made gains. In tableware, metallic with gold rims, Asian-inspired bamboo flatware, as well as examples with colored handles using mixed materials, decorated the winter and spring housewares and tabletop shows.

Burns (pictured above left) said that after the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing turmoil in the economy, color has become more prominent in the market as an antidote to darker events, with yellows and blues strong. Burns said color’s increasing importance is seen across retail channels, and she specified the Pioneer Woman collection (marketed by Gibson) at Walmart.

“It’s so colorful. If you haven’t been to Walmart lately, she’s got 50% of the tableware area right now,” Burns said.

A key consideration in the tableware market, the panelists agreed, is where and how Americans are dining, which now includes the dining room, kitchen, outdoors and on the go. That has changed how they look at the items they use for meals. Formal and casual dinnerware have melded.

Moreover, melamine and acrylic are being accepted by consumers as having thoroughgoing sophistication, and these materials are no longer just for the patio. Now manufacturers are looking at melamine to the use of more natural materials to produce quality products with similar properties.

In a generational angle on developments, Nading (pictured above right) noted how her adult children don’t put together formal table settings for meals in their homes, “but they expect it at my house.”

Something to watch for in the future, Nading said, is how younger consumers evolve as they establish their own homes. As they have families, will they keep a casual attitude toward dining or become more formal? The question, she said, suggests a consideration worth monitoring as the tabletop market continues to evolve and change.

Listen to the audio from the presentation:

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