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How the Inspired Home Show Plans to Return in 2021 with Confidence


The President of the International Housewares Association (IHA) released a statement on March 5, 2020, that the 2020 Inspired Home Show would be canceled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Derek Miller stated that despite the trade show’s continued track record over the past 80 years, bringing people together at their global event would be too much of a health risk.

The statement asked home and houseware professionals who had planned on exhibiting for their continued support and patience as the show did their best to work toward a plan for their 2021 show.

IHA rescheduled and then rescheduled again to ensure full confidence in moving forward with the show.Although the show was initially rescheduled for March 13-16 of 2021, it was then pushed to an even later date, August 7-10 of 2021. As the pandemic continued into the summer months of 2020, the Board of Directors, exhibiting members, and retail buyers were still apprehensive about being able to safely assemble the industry as early as March.

The show holders spoke to a list of key retailers, who were very vocal about having a face-to-face show, and were enthusiastic about the idea of holding the Inspired Home Show in August.

The show website is now prepared for exhibitors and attendees to register for the 2021 show. In the past, the show has averaged 2,200 exhibitors and 52,000 housewares professionals from over 130 countries who typically come together at McCormick Place Exposition Center in downtown Chicago, and they say that the city is prepared to do it again come August 2021.

With so many shows going virtual, why should businesses want to exhibit at the Inspired Home Show?The answer is simple: to get in front of thousands of qualified buyers in an irreplaceable face-to-face environment. The Inspired Home Show (previously known as The International Home + Housewares Show) projects unparalleled access to retail buyers seeking new products and ideas to attract consumers back into their stores. As the global economy reopens, retailers will be searching out product innovations that meet new buyer demands caused by the pandemic.

At this trade show, exhibitors will be able to meet with top decision-makers and key influencers across the country. While many exhibitors are likely faced with reduced budgets for travel and exhibiting, a prioritized event like this will definitely offer an opportunity to grow rapidly with so much exposure all in one place.

For anyone who is unsure about buyers being ready to jump back into attending trade shows by August 2021, they’ll be happy to see these statistics that the Inspired Home Show shared from a survey of US and international retail buyers conducted by IHA in July 2020. This survey indicated that by August 2021 (Q3), 71.1% of retailers said they’d expect to resume business travel. 89.4% indicated that they would be ready to resume trade show attendance by this time.

With the Inspired Home Show attracting 99% of the top global retailers in 13 channels, thousands of independent specialty buyers, and hundreds of influencers with a combined reach of 50 million followers, exhibitors will be able to feel confident in their investment to step back into in-person trade shows.

How is the International Housewares Association ensuring a safe and productive return?While IHA’s website is more-so focused on the show itself in eagerness for buyers and sellers to be able to come together again, they also share their plans regarding safety procedures.

With a plan in the works to comply with recommendations and safety procedures from the CDC, the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, and the needs of the industry, IHA shares a detailed list of the steps being taken. To note a few:

  • Enhancing their cleaning process with hospital-grade sanitizing on high-touch areas, (a tactic that many in the industry are adopting)
  • Increasing outside air intake
  • Training staff on appropriate actions to minimize risks
  • Creating social distancing signage and floor decals
  • Decreasing seating at sessions
  • Implementing Plexi-panels and hand sanitizer at registration counters and other desks
  • Creating wider aisles
  • Offering pre-packaged food items
  • Providing suggestions to exhibitors on maintaining social distancing in booths (you can read about some of our social distancing exhibit solutions here and other etiquette suggestions here)

You can find IHA’s full list of safety procedures here, as they continue to create and refine their plan.

Skyline Exhibits is excited to see large shows like IHA pave a path for others in the trade show world to carefully and confidently reopen their doors and begin hosting in-person events again. As the world begins to trade again, we’d be more than happy to assist in any needs your business may have when it comes to exhibiting. Don’t hesitate to reach out today!


About the Author

In her experience at Skyline's corporate office in St. Paul, Minnesota, Briquelle Neyens immersed herself in trade show research and the ins and outs of exhibit sales firsthand. She also engaged with Skyline's wide-array of products and services from an insider's perspective. Her blogs portray her expertise on what it takes to be a successful trade show marketer. She enjoys generating information that will help all trade show marketers in their decisions to become successful on the trade show floor.

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