BoomerSmart: Top Ten at IHHS 2017

Attend any marketing conference and you’ll hear one word again and again (and again): Millennials.

They’re the group that’s 75.4 million strong and spending $200 billion annually. 32% of them may still be living at home with Mom and Dad, but they’re a Housewares brand’s best chance at a strong future.

But while climbing over one another to reach the coveted Millennial audience, most marketers have forgotten about one key demographic.

It just so happens to be the group that holds 83% of household wealth and generates $5.6 trillion in consumer spending each year.

Making the opportunity even greater, only 10% of advertising dollars are currently aimed at this demographic.

So what is this group that most marketers are all but ignoring?

Baby Boomers.

This year at the International Home and Housewares Show (IHHS,) AIMsights presented on the myriad myths surrounding the Baby Boomer generation, teaching marketers how to be BoomerSmart in today’s economy.

One of the most prominent Boomer myths we discussed is that they’re downsizing during the next stage of their lives. In reality, Boomers are simplifying, rather than downsizing. As a result, they have an eye for function and purpose and are very intentional with the products they bring into their homes.

We walked the show with a Boomer-friendly lens, searching for products that fit seamlessly into their homes and satisfy their changing needs.

Here are ten products (in no particular order) with a strong Boomer appeal — real Boomers, not feeble elderly Grandmas most marketers think of when they envision this group:

1. Joseph Joseph – Helix Potato Ricer

With Boomers’ keen eye on function, the Joseph Joseph booth was one of our first stops at IHHS. Joseph Joseph is always a step ahead of the curve by focusing on smart design with an emphasis on high function. The helix potato ricer is perfect for the new potato and cauliflower rice trends. It provides health-conscious Boomers with an alternative to carb-filled rice and makes preparation easy. Instead of traditional ricers that require a pushing motion, this new design cleverly uses a twisting motion that multiplies force, to allow a powerful grinding action with the turn of a wrist.

2. Nashi Home – Resin bowls

What drew us to these bowls is how beautiful they are, with their translucence and unique marble-like appearance. We were surprised to learn what they’re actually made of: resin. These lightweight bowls are ideal for Boomers who love to entertain. When filled with food, ceramic, porcelain, and other materials can get very heavy. These resin bowls are light and easy to maneuver, yet are absolutely gorgeous at the same time. Their function is wonderful, without sacrificing form.

3. Koziol – Meeting Point Utensil Stand + Spatulas

Boomers have embraced the Marie Kondo concept of decluttering — and the idea that using a product must bring joy. They are looking for products that go beyond simply performing a chore for ones that also include an emotional experience. The Koziol booth was full of designs that made us smile — but none more so than these spatulas. The smiley faces add a fun factor to the product, yet the fun doesn’t come at the expense of quality. The spatulas have a great weight, wonderful hand feel, just the right edge, and can withstand high temperatures — making them a functional product that brings joy.

4. Progressive – PL8 Professional Slicer

As they age, Boomers are looking for products that promote safety in the home. The PL8 Professional Slicer fits the bill, providing all the function of a traditional mandoline in a safe, easy-to-use way. Unlike other mandolines that require manual removal of the blades that must be washed by hand — a very dangerous ordeal — the PL8 product is dishwasher safe, with blades that can be switched without removing them. There’s also a stopper function to prevent the possibility of overshooting the slicer and nicking the user’s hand. Not to mention, the handheld product has a very small footprint and an adjustable blade for various slicing widths. It’s an utterly practical tool for the modern Boomer kitchen.

5. WiOn – WiFi Outlets

They may not be digital natives, but Boomers are certainly digitally engaged. 74% own a smartphone and the group is very positive about technology — linking their smartphones with freedom and connection — as opposed to other generations who view them as a “leash.” The Wion WiFi outlets make Boomers’ lives easier (and safer) by giving them the power to control their outlets with their smartphones. They can remove the fear that they’ve left the curling iron on and shut the outlet off with the touch of their phone screen. The product also allows them to turn lights on and off with a tap, to increase safety when walking around at night or ward off intruders when staying out-of-town. With plans to integrate with Alexa and Google Play in the near future, this product will continue to fit in Boomers’ technology-driven homes.

6. Vitamix – Ascent Series Blender

Boomers, with their strong focus on health and wellness, are driving the multi-generational “healthyish” trend. Vitamix’s new Ascent series blender with its interchangeable blender cups help make a “healthyish” lifestyle easy. Boomers no longer have to store and clean a huge cup every time they want to make a smoothie. They can attach the 20oz cup, make their healthy drink, pop on a travel lid, and take it to go. The versatile model offers a range of cup sizes so Boomers can use the product in many ways, including making organic baby food for the grandkids.

7. The Napkins – Single-Use Tabletop Textiles // Sophistiplate – Single-Use Plates

Simplicity-craving Boomers are asking themselves “how can I have the same experience without so much work?” These plates and napkins look and feel absolutely fantastic, but can be thrown away after use. It’s an easy way to cut down on work while entertaining without sacrificing a drop of style or elegance. We were shocked at how fashion-forward these designs looked — we couldn’t believe they were disposable! The products come together to create an inviting, multi-layered table. The endless color and pattern options also allow for versatility and an ever-evolving look.

8. Fusionbrands – CoverBlubber

Every day, it seems another health report is published on the dangers of chemicals in the home. CoverBlubber — with the new clear color launched at IHHS this year — give Boomers a healthy way to preserve leftovers. The covers do not contain BPA, Phthalates, or other harmful chemicals, a desirable feature for the Boomer audience. In addition, the covers eliminate the need for dozens of storage containers. Boomers can simply leave food in their bowl or serving dish, pop on the blubber cover, and stash it in the fridge or freezer. Simplification wins again!


9. Stems Vases – Horizontal Vase

The metal and glass exterior of these vases provides a striking, modern look. But their true beauty comes from how easy it is to make a bold style statement. A single line of sunflowers, a pile of stream pebbles, sliced lemons submerged in water, even a row of asparagus look glamorous when displayed in these simple containers. Stems Vases allow the user to create a variety of designs — without spending hundreds at the florist for a complicated bouquet. We also love the low profile of the design, perfect for actually seeing your guests at the table. Again, function and form combine for a fantastic product.

10. Fortessa – Cloud Terre tabletop pottery line

Boomers are discerning customers — wanting to have their cake and eat it too, when it comes to design and function. This handcrafted tableware line provides the sense of everyday elegance that experience-conscious Boomers crave. The Cloud Terre line feels personal, as no two glazes are exactly the same. Pieces feel special and custom, yet they don’t have to sit in the cabinet for special occasions — they can be used every day to bring joy.

Which item would you most like to have in your home and for what reasons? If you’re a Boomer, what other products are you searching for in this stage of your life? Or, if you’re a Millennial or Gen-Xer, which of these products would fit equally well in your home?