Consumers remain at home and keep spending on new products for their homes, continuing a trend seen in 2020 that drove sales of kitchenware products.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to adapt, and they did so quickly, shifting their discretionary spending from travel and other experiences towards the here and now of a new homebound lifestyle,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry advisor, retail. “Though there was some struggle to keep pace and align retail marketing and merchandising, this rapid shift in consumer buying behavior propelled several industries, like consumer technology and housewares forward, and digital was at the forefront.”
Online dollar sales of discretionary general merchandise grew 34% in 2020. Small appliances and housewares were among the product categories with the strongest overall growth for the year, NPD reported.
Through the first six weeks of 2021, general merchandise categories have posted double-digit growth in terms of discretionary retail spending. For example, in the week ending February 6, discretionary retail dollar sales increased 13% when compared to the same week in 2020.
“The robust nature of this continued spending, albeit helped by the stimulus payments, is impressive in that the consumer demand and desire for products to enhance their lives at home is clearly there,” added Cohen. “But with many products being one-and-done purchases by nature, future retail momentum will require product and marketing innovation that creates new consumer intrigue.”