Gifts Today magazine

Chicago’s smart moves prove successful

Sold-out 2017 International Home + Housewares Show brims with innovation, with its focus on smart, connected products

The just-concluded 2017 International Home + Housewares Show is garnering rave reviews from buyers and sellers. The Show was sold-out with 2,204 exhibitors from 47 countries and featured a focus on the smart home and connected products.

“We are very pleased with buyer attendance, which was nearly on par with last year’s record numbers, particularly international, which was very positive with buyers coming from over 125 countries,” says Phil Brandl, president & CEO of the not-for-profit International Housewares Association, which owns and operates the Show. 

“Noteworthy this year is solid growth in buyers from key international markets, including Japan, Korea and India as well as several Latin American and European markets. In addition, senior-level representative attendance from both retailers and suppliers was particularly strong.”

This year saw a concerted focus on smart and connected products with the inaugural IHA Smart Home Pavilion, featuring 18 new and current exhibitors displaying emerging technologies and the latest in smart and connected products, as well as 70 other exhibitors throughout the Show. The Discover Design Expo, in its second year in the North Building, was the design destination at the Show, Phil adds.

“All in all, the 120th International Home + Housewares Show was a successful marketplace for the industry,” he says.

The New Exhibitor Preview on Saturday morning attracted more than 600 buyer and media attendees, increasing attendance over last year. The event offered buyers and media the opportunity to meet with 90 first-time exhibitors, up from 60 last year, in advance of the official 10 a.m. Show opening. “Response from the buyers is very positive about the New Exhibitor Preview, and we anticipate attendance to continue growing as more buyers want to begin their day earlier,” Phil says.

Media attendance included a significant increase in bloggers and internet media, coverage by NBC’s Today Show, Xinhua News Agency and home-focused YouTube channels and influencers. The Show will generate in excess of 350 million consumer impressions through broadcast, print and Internet coverage and social media communication.

The Show also included a series of thought-provoking educational sessions, including keynote programs on color and design trends and how consumers’ emotions affect color choices by Lee Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute; a panel of thought leaders discussing the impact of the smart home on housewares; an overview of consumers’ values and expectations by Tom Mirabile of Lifetime Brands; and a focus group of millennials discussing housewares by Warren Shoulberg and Maureen Azzato of HFN. In addition, the Innovation Theater offered 21 presentations on the smart home and connected products; age and gender marketing; and retail and consumer lifestyle trends. Audio and video recordings of the educational sessions are available at

The 2018 International Home + Housewares Show will be held March 10-13 at McCormick Place, Chicago USA. 2018 attendee registration and additional Show information are available at

Social Links