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The Next Five Years in American House Trends

Consumers stay at home more, and housewares industry takes note

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — As the recession takes a toll on most businesses, the housewares industry is actually expecting to see some benefit as more consumers eat, entertain and generally spend more time at home in order to save money.

In a presentation earlier this week, Mirabile pointed out several home trends he’s expecting for 2010. Below are five trends he predicts for the kitchen and beyond:

The live-in kitchen. Consumers spend three to four hours in the kitchen every day, not only cooking there but using it as a place to entertain, work, craft and spend leisure time, Mirabile said. The kitchen is being reinvented as a second living room, he said, as appliances are camouflaged and functional objects are hidden or minimized, allowing people to create ambiance in the room.

Living within our means. The recession is changing long-held opinions on how we spend our money. Consumers are looking for quality and durability in products — a shift away from disposable consumption, he said. They’re canning food more and growing their own herbs, they’re brown bagging lunches and they’re shopping in bulk at warehouse clubs or stocking up during grocery store sales to save money.

The green kitchen. Americans continue to make their lives more environmentally friendly, but they’re increasingly confused and frustrated about what is really “green,” Mirabile said. While they want products to be eco-friendly, they’re not going to pay much of a premium for it either — they expect retailers and manufacturers to deliver green products at competitive prices.

The wellness kitchen. Buying local food and/or growing your own often means it will be fresher and free from pesticides and preservatives — in short, more nutritious, he said. Today’s consumers are also interested in purifying their water and air.

Cooking for fun. We’re a nation of foodies, Mirabile said, quoting a Nielsen survey that found one in every five households has a “budding gourmet chef.” It’s not just women spending more time in the kitchen, either; “gastrosexuals” are men who consider cooking more of a hobby than a household chore, and use kitchen skills to impress friends and prospective partners. The popularity of the Food Network has helped to inspire a new love with food and cooking, and he expects consumers to continue to search for new recipes, techniques and cooking tools.

Amy Hoak is a MarketWatch reporter based in Chicago.

March 29, 2009 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Building, Cooking, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Generational, Living Conditions, Marketing, Statistics | ,

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