Top 10 Ping Pong Products from the 2014 IHHS

The AIMsights Group continued our tradition of selecting the Top 10 Products for Millennials at the  International Home and Housewares Show, but with a twist this year. AIMsights’ new collaboration brings expanded expertise in the Baby Boomer generation and so this year, we incorporated the Boomer perspective as well, identifying our Top 10 Ping Pong Products. “Ping Pong Branding” describes the sharing of brand preferences and product recommendations, back-and-forth, from one generation to another. It occurs when a Millennial tells a Boomer about a new smartphone or when a Boomer shares a great traditional cookware item with a Millennial.  These two generations have a lot more in common than prior generations and they like to share advice.  Their unique relationship creates new opportunities to drive sales and build intergenerational brand loyalty.

At the Housewares Show, AIMsights also introduced our new M@B Blueprint, a marketing tool that provides a methodical way of looking at the Millennials and Boomers as individual groups of consumers, as well as exploring how the two generations influence each other and drive sales.

Below are our picks for the Top 10 Ping Pong Products that use the M@B principles and ideas in appealing to both generations. Click on each item to read more about its intergenerational appeal.

Which item is your personal favorite and why? Which do you feel has the most potential to appeal to both groups? How do you think each group would use the product(s)?


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1. Artland Lotus Grill

Is there anything better than firing up the grill for a summer afternoon barbecue with family and friends? The universal appeal of grilling in the U.S. led us to take a closer look at the Lotus Grill, but certain features appeal specifically to Millennial and Boomer consumers. Millennials are big fans of traditional activities and any food that evokes a cozy sense of nostalgia, but they are time-crunched and space-poor. Many Baby Boomers are downsizing after children have moved out and they don’t want to deal with the hassle and mess of traditional grills. Enter: Lotus Grill. It’s small, lightweight, battery-operated, easy to disassemble, and dishwasher-safe, virtually eliminating the pain points of traditional grills.


2. Beaba Babycook Pro

AIMsights’ industry report MILLENNIALS At HOME…IN THE KITCHEN explains that Millennials are a health-conscious generation. They are also a distrustful generation, as confirmed by the recent Pew study.The idea of preparing their baby’s food and knowing exactly what goes into each meal is extremely appealing to Millennial parents. Steaming the food before blending also helps retain vitamins and minerals. Babycook Pro encourages parents to add spices and flavors that the family regularly eats to encourage easy transition to solid foods.  The Babycook serving-size silicone freezing trays make it easy for a busy parent to prepare multiple meals ahead of time, freeze them, and then, when needed, pop the frozen serving into the Pro machine to heat it up. AIMsights’ research identifies that Millennials look to Boomers for advice on child-rearing and parenting.  Reaching the Boomer market will help Beaba establish their authority in this market space.


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3. Charles Viancin Silicone Lids

The gorgeous, colorful display at the Housewares Show attracted us to the Charles Viancin booth, and we’re glad it did! The functionality of these lids is fantastic: they’re reusable, can be used with any glass, ceramic, or wood container, and they create an airtight, water-tight seal to keep food fresh and prevent spills. But it’s the beauty they infused into the product that elevates it from purely functional. The nature-inspired designs include lily pad, cherry blossom, sunflower, and even pumpkin for fall, allowing consumers to add a touch of interest to their homes. Socially conscious, “Goodie Two Shoes” Millennials will enjoy the waste-saving, reusable aspect of these lids, and that they are an alternative to the clutter of the dreaded “Tupperware drawer”. Boomers, with a bit more disposable income, are sure to appreciate the design aesthetic as a way to add personality and style to their kitchen.


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4. Janome Derby Line

Crafting is “hot” with Millennials. Just look at the popularity of sites like Etsy and Pinterest! Traditional activities like crafting provide a huge opportunity for Ping Pong Branding because Boomers have existing knowledge and expertise on the topic. The Janome Derby line features a petite, five pound model that is perfect for the space-limited Millennial who wants to check some Pinterest sewing projects off their list. The price point makes it affordable, but its 10-stitch settings provide all the functionality of a larger machine. For Boomers, the Derby Line is the perfect way to rediscover an old passion, with a refreshing update to a classic machine. The portability of this compact, lightweight machine is also perfect for group crafting activities like quilting.  Plus, the fun colors allow both groups to express their personality!



5. Lodge Silicone Trivet

Cast iron cookware is making a comeback in a major way and is a fantastic example of Ping Pong Branding. Cast iron is a traditional cookware material that Millennials are adopting and sharing with their Boomer parents, who may have forgotten about the benefits. To support their traditional line of cast iron products, Lodge unveiled their new silicone trivet at the Housewares Show. These 7” square silicone trivets feature a simple graphic that, on closer inspection, are perfectly aligned little skillets.  The little skillets serve on each side of the mat, removing heat from the pan and protecting the counter or table. Cast iron gets hot, really hot, and these trivets protect surfaces up to 500 degrees. As Millennials and Boomers ping pong cast iron cookware back and forth, these functional mats come in handy, keeping surfaces safe while adding a pop of color.



6. Nespresso VertuoLine

Nespresso has long been a leader in at-home, single-serve espresso machines.  Their new full-cup coffee machine delivers the same top-of-the-line experience. The new Centrifusion technology guarantees a rich, deeply-flavored cup of coffee, and a layer of foamy delicious crema accompanies each cup, delivering a truly gourmet experience. The VertuoLine will appeal to Boomers who want to treat themselves to this luxury and pamper their guests. The product will appeal to “Generation G” Millennials, who are willing to invest in a top-quality piece that delivers a gourmet experience. The VertuoLine’s versatility is an important factor, with the option to brew both coffee and espresso.  It truly appeals to all tastes.



7. Objecto H3 Hybrid Humidifier

One comment we often hear from Millennials is that they want products to do double-duty. Unlike older generations, they prefer multi-function capability and appreciate products that perform more than one task. The Objecto humidifier performs the task of enhancing the air while serving as a sculptural decoration for the home. Millennials, and also Boomers who have downsized after their children have moved out, are working with limited space in their homes.  It’s increasingly important for functional pieces to also look great. The innovation of taking a traditionally unattractive product and adding design elements to enhance a room will appeal to both generations. The H3 Hybrid Humidifier keeps your home comfortable while enhancing your decor.



8. Quirky VanishISO

In addition to offering great product, Quirky wins our vote for “most interesting booth” at the Housewares Show! Their first impression quickly communicates that they are customer-centric with products directly inspired by consumer needs and wants. Quirky’s crowdsourcing business model is right up Millennials’ alley, providing options for co-creation, curation and content development.  It’s perfect for Millennials who value two-way communication and do not respond to push advertising. The new VanishISO is a humidity-activated exhaust fan for the bathroom, that turns on or off depending on how much moisture in the air is detected. ISO saves money and energy by only turning on when it’s needed. Simple and brilliant… characteristics appreciated by new Millennial homeowners. Quirky is currently a popular niche brand among Millennials, but products this functional are too good not to share.  We foresee major Ping Pong Branding with Boomers in Quirky’s future.



9. Verilux HappyLight 10K

In our high-tech, fast-paced world, many of us suffer from inadequate exposure to sunlight, especially during the Winter Blues months. Research into  Seasonal Affective Disorder suggests a very simple solution: get more sunlight! Verilux’s HappyLight provides 10,000 LUX of full-spectrum light, the same type provided by the sun, to cue the body to recalibrate and stabilize, fight fatigue and improve focus. Just turn on the light and go about your activities while receiving the rejuvenating benefits. What we love about this specific model is that users can adjust the light output.  If you only have 15 minutes, choose a power dose.  If you have an hour, select lower levels of light. AIMsights’ research confirms that both Millennials and Boomers are adopting the mantra of “live every day to the max” and searching for small daily steps to increase general happiness. The HappyLight Line appeals to both generations, improving mood, energy and productivity in a simple, holistic way.


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10. Zadro Cordless Rounded Wall Mirror

Zadro’s wall mirror is a perfect example of how a low-tech product maintains relevancy in a modern consumer’s life. A Boomer will love these mirrors for their 10x magnification and optical quality glass, as they adjust and zero in for accurate makeup application or facial shaving.  Style-conscious Millennials will move the mirror to see the back side of a hairstyle or precisely shape a beard. The mirrors are easy to install and, are battery-powered, avoiding the need for complicated electrical work.  The wall attachment maximizes available counter space.  The simplicity is perfect for Millennials who are renting and can’t make major home updates. The Millennial-Boomer communication channel will spread the word about this product.  We see great gift-giving potential!!


Honorable Mentions:

They didn’t make the Top Ten, but these products also had major ping pong potential, so we had to give them a shoutout of their own!


Joseph Joseph Nested Storage Containers

Who doesn’t appreciate great design? These airtight containers nest neatly inside one another and the lids snap together, providing a simple space-saving solution to the chaos that is the tupperware cabinet! The lids and bases are also color-coded, making it simple to match the twelve pieces together. As Millennials and Boomers share information, as well as recipes and dishes, these containers are sure to enter the conversation!


Chef'N SweetSpot

Chef’N SweetSpot Ice Cream Maker

For anyone who loves sweet treats, the SweetSpot is not to be missed! This is a low-tech alternative to larger, bulkier ice cream makers. The SweetSpot can have ice cream ready in minutes, which is great for time-crunched Millennials! It also can be used other frozen treats besides ice cream (frozen margarita, anyone?)


– Authored by Whitney Ryan