The Electronic Retailing Association

Interview with Derek Miller, President, International Housewares Association, US about the Chicago Inspired Home Show and the ERA Global Lounge

For the first time, the International Housewares Association (IHA) will co-operate this year with ERA Global. As part of the partnership, ERA Global members will have access to a separate lounge at The Inspired Home Show in  Chicago, so that they can meet with business partners and/or conduct their business in a peaceful environment whilst attending the show.

We are very happy about this co-operation [with ERA Global]. Many of the ERA member companies have had teams regularly visiting the show for years already, so we know the show is a very good fit for them. For us, this cooperation means we’re able to assist the ERA member attendees even better with special services such as the ERA member lounge.

Derek Miller, President, IHA

In the following interview, Derek Miller, President of the International Houseware Association (IHA), U.S., shares some background information about The Inspired Home Show and the cooperation with ERA Global.

Derek Miller, President of the International Housewares Association (IHA)

Derek Miller is the President of the International Housewares Association (IHA), which owns and operates The Inspired Home Show, Chicago. The 123rd edition of the show will take place this year from the 14th - 17th March, under a different name. 'The Inspired Home Show, IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market', is the new name for the International Home + Housewares Show.

ERA: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview for us, Mr. Miller. Please tell us: what makes The Inspired Home Show the world’s leading Home & Housewares Show?

Derek Miller: With over 2,000 exhibitors from 50 countries and more than 51,000 attendees from over 130 countries, The Inspired Home Show is truly a global marketplace.

The 2020 Show will showcase thousands of existing brands and hundreds of new companies all offering retailers a chance to find their next best seller.  We’re excited to play an integral role in creating a vibrant and lively marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers each March in Chicago.

The Show’s core strength though, and a key benefit for exhibitors, continues to be strong attendance from senior retail management with CEOs, General Merchandise Managers (GMMs) and Divisional Merchandise Managers (DMMs) attending in large numbers.  The Show is a unique marketplace that brings senior retail and product supply management together for face-to-face meetings in an efficient manner.

ERA. The Chicago Show was formerly known as the International Home + Housewares Show. Why does it have a new name this year?

DM: The Inspired Home Show, IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market, is the new name for the International Home + Housewares Show. 

The Show’s name was changed to better reflect the realities in today’s marketplace.  In the early 2000s, price was the determining sales factor.  We then saw functionality with design become increasingly important.  And now, as lifestyle is the next step in the evolution, we will be out in front of this movement.  After all, if the best designed product found at the right price does not fit within the lifestyle of the targeted consumer, a sale will not be made.

Through our consumer engagement program – – IHA has been actively promoting lifestyle for several years.  And in March, The Inspired Home Show will bring the importance of lifestyle to the forefront of the industry at The Inspired Home Show.  The reimagined Show will help retailers understand how design and function fit into their customers’ lifestyles and find ways to inspire those consumers to purchase products that complement their lifestyles.

ERA: The Show is well-known for its educational events. It includes conferences, talk-shows and events to help the participants advance their business and get insights into the trends. Could you give us a sneak peek in the main future trends of the Housewares Industry for 2020?

DM: Consumer, color and lifestyle trends again will be a primary focus of the educational programs at The Inspired Home Show. Returning to the keynote sessions are Show stalwarts Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute and Tom Mirabile of Springboard Insights. Eiseman’s annual programs on color trends will focus on how to use color for success in the marketplace and the most adaptable hues that can be used successfully in a range of color combinations. Mirabile will take a look at the home + housewares consumer of 2030, exploring where society is heading and how consumer behavior will evolve.

New this year will be a keynote session on IHA’s new state of the industry report, presenting the five consumer trends that will guide home + housewares purchases in the next 12-24 months and providing insights on how every product category can take advantage of these trends.

The Innovation Theater will have sessions all show days on key topics including smart home, omni-channel marketing, consumer lifestyle trends, retail best practices and global market trends. And the Smart Talks Stage will feature experts discussing food trends, artificial intelligence and healthcare in the connected home, along with providers of B2B services, retail applications and consumer data analyses introducing the latest thinking in how to manage data-driven connected products and services.

ERA: Why should a company from the Home Shopping Industry attend the Chicago Show? Which companies should be present?

DM: The Inspired Home Show features a diverse assortment of products showcased in five Expos:  

  • Dine + Décor featuring tabletop, cookware, bakeware and home décor
  • Clean + Contain featuring cleaning, organization and clothing care items
  • Wired + Well featuring home, kitchen, health and personal care electrics
  • Discover Design featuring design-driven products from all show categories
  • International Sourcing featuring value-priced products from China and Taiwan

Any branded housewares supplier looking to connect with global buyers or any buyer looking for new and innovative brands and products should attend the show!

ERA: What are the future plans for the Inspired Home Show?

DM: The International Housewares Association (IHA), which owns and operates The Inspired Home Show, just finalized a new Strategic Plan in September.  This document not only directs IHA’s vision and mission but also helps with tactical activities.  IHA staff are dedicated to carry out and accomplish the primary goals, which include providing a world-class trade show and increasing consumer engagement with home & housewares products.  We are working hard to launch our new name and branding at the 2020 Show and have some exciting plans for 2021 and beyond that will be introduced later in the year!

ERA: Please tell us about the special cooperation between The Inspired Home Show and ERA Global from your perspective.

DM: We are, of course, very happy about this cooperation. Many of the ERA member companies have had teams regularly visiting the Show for years already, so we know the Show is a very good fit for them. For us, this cooperation means we’re able to assist the ERA member attendees even better with special services such as the ERA member lounge. It also allows IHA to expand communication about the Show to ERA members who may not have been familiar with our housewares marketplace and increase ERA members’ attendance, which is a benefit to our exhibitors.

We very much look forward to welcoming the ERA group to The Inspired Home Show 2020 and in the years to come!

ERA: Please share some statistics with us about the Chicago Show.

DM: The Inspired Home Show 2020 is the 123rd edition with the first event happening in Chicago in 1939.  The Show is Chicago’s largest annual trade event and is ranked #14 by size in the United States.  The show spans close to 150,000 m2 (1.6 million ft2) of total space with over 74,000 m2 (800,000 ft2) of booths. To travel past every booth, you would have to walk close to 26 kilometers (12 miles)!

ERA: What’s the biggest challenge & opportunity facing the housewares industry’s retailers?

DM: The biggest challenge and opportunity facing industry retailers is the changing landscape.  The internet and online shopping have exponentially expanded the consumer’s ability to research and purchase products from a wide variety of sources throughout the country, and in some cases internationally as well.  The rise of online giants such as Amazon and Wayfair have put pressure on traditional retailers, forcing them to adapt or be left behind.  Successful retailers in the future will likely have omnichannel business models that meet customer’s needs both online and in a physical location.  Traditional retailers are moving online, and online retailers are opening physical stores and pop-up shops.

The World’s leading Home & Housewares Show, The Inspired Home Show connects every year not only buyer to seller, but also product to lifestyle, and the housewares industry to the consumer mindset. While in Chicago successful retailers and manufacturers bring individual products and display elements together to create inspiring environments that drive sales.

See here for more information about the Show: