Research Report: IHA Occasions Survey reveals consumer purchasing plans


February 25, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

The International Housewares Association recently commissioned a study by consumer research firm Morning Consult to tap into what life moment occasions consumers plan to celebrate how in the coming year and how that will impact the home and housewares business. Results are based on a survey of more than 2,200 adults nationwide, measuring their expectations on life events in 2022 for themselves, as well as for friends and family.

This special report showcases analysis of consumer gift preferences and shopping behaviors based on each of the eight key life events expected to shape special occasions in 2022: Engagements; Bridal Showers; Weddings; New Home Ownership; New Pet Ownership; Baby Showers; Off to College; and Retirement.

“In 2020 births were down nearly 300,000 from past years, weddings and engagements were put on hold and new pet ownership went up dramatically,” said Leana Salamah, vice president, marketing, International Housewares Association. “Things changed in life during the pandemic. With this report, our goal is to benchmark and understand how consumers will behave going forward.”

Generally, respondents are mixed on whether and how often they, friends and family will experience celebratory occasions in 2022. Overall, respondents selected new pet ownership (32%) and new home ownership (32%) as the life events most likely to take place in their own lives in the coming months. The largest share of adults (60%) stated it was not likely friends or family would be leaving for college in the next year, all of which reflects the current consumer pandemic behaviors.

In addition, not surprisingly, respondents aged 18-34 said they and/or their friends would experience all these key life events, except retirement, in the coming year. As for responses from men versus women, there was a slight uptick among men who expect friends to leave for college (20%) and retire (25%) in the coming year.

In one notable demographic indicator, respondents in the Northeast were the most likely to purchase gifts for bridal showers, baby showers, and new home/housewarming purchases.

“This suggests the nine states in that region of the country may have a disproportionate sense of confidence in gathering in large groups once again,” IHA’s Salamah noted. “This happens to correlate with vaccination status, as these states were all within the top 15 in terms of rate of vaccination at the time the study was fielded, so it is likely that this plays a role in their pronounced confidence.”

As for gift giving, 57% of adults surveyed stated they are the primary decision-maker for purchasing decisions, with 19% responding they equally share the responsibility. Cash and gift cards top the list across the board. However, many home and housewares goods are top of mind as well, particularly to celebrate events such as a new home, leaving for college and weddings, with most of the expected buying activity taking place in July to September.

Of the most popular home and housewares products mentioned, adults are most likely to say they would purchase a kitchen product for a wedding (51%) or housewarming (56%); bathroom/personal care products for a baby shower (42%); cleaning/home environment products for new pet ownership (51%); and bedroom products for someone leaving for college (53%).

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