Inspired Home Show Will Be Shorter and Condensed into the North and South Halls at McCormick Place in 2024
The Inspired Home Show, produced by the International Housewares Association (IHA), will be held over three days instead of four and exhibits at Lakeside Center will be relocated to McCormick Place’s North and South Halls when it runs Sun., March 17, to Tues., March 19, 2024, in Chicago. While the overall size of the show will not decrease with these relocation plans, the show will no longer occupy the Lakeside Center.
After analyzing feedback from two industry-wide surveys and four special committees made up of both exhibitors and retailers, the IHA Board of Directors decided to reduce the overall length and optimize the show layout to create the most productive and efficient trade show experience as possible for the industry.
The majority of exhibitors and retailers indicated on recent surveys and in discussions that three full days at the show is sufficient, with business being more concentrated over that timeframe, said IHA President and CEO Derek Miller.
“Making the move from four days to three full days will not only make the show more productive and dynamic but will also reduce costs for both the exhibitor and retail audiences, something frequently cited throughout discussions,” Miller explained.
A Look Back
In 2023, The Inspired Home Show wrapped on March 7 at McCormick Place and Lakeside Center in Chicago after four days with more than 1,600 exhibitors and nearly 30,000 home and housewares professionals from 125 countries. After a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020 and 2021, the 2023 show demonstrated significant year-over-year increases in both exhibitor and retailer participation compared with 2022 when it drew 20,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibiting companies.
Coming out of COVID, the 2022 show was certainly smaller than the 2019 event, Miller said.
“As the 2023 Show built upon the previous year’s success with large increases in the number of exhibitors and retail attendees, there is no doubt that the trajectory for the show is extremely positive,” he added. “The changes being made will be a further propellent to create a trade show that is more productive, highly efficient and tremendously successful for the entire industry.”
Changes to the Show Layout
The Wired + Well Expo will move from the Lakeside Center to McCormick Place’s North Hall, co-locating with the Clean + Contain Expo. Housing all three of the show’s primary expos, which includes Dine + Décor, in the North and South Halls will bring the industry’s core categories together into a central location that IHA hopes will be much easier and more efficient for attendees to navigate with quick trips between the two halls.
The North Hall will be divided into two halves with Wired + Well occupying the right-hand side and Clean + Contain continuing to occupy the left-hand side. Both expos will be reconfigured with exhibitors placed based on seniority. Additional details will be provided to returning and new exhibitors in the coming weeks about the process and schedule.
The Discover Design Expo will be disbursed with current exhibitors being placed within their appropriate categories. Discover Design was created in 2011 to concentrate and highlight design-driven companies that wanted to exhibit in a central location.
With design-forward products now being widespread and found throughout the show, Miller said there is simply no longer a need for this specific area. As with the changes to Wired + Well and Clean + Contain, current exhibitors from Discover Design will be contacted directly regarding the space assignment process.
The Travel Gear + Luggage category will move into the South Hall to give this new area room to grow and develop. Additional details about this category’s development will be released in the near future.
The International Sourcing Expo will return to the Lower North Hall, a location previously occupied by that group of exhibitors in 2019. Exhibitors without branded products and U.S. distribution will be grouped together in this area to create product sourcing opportunities for the industry.
Exhibits and displays located in the Lakeside Center Lobby, such as the Smart Home Pavilion and the Inventors Corner, will be relocated later in the year into the North and South Halls.
Reaction From the Industry
“I’m excited for the changes; it’s great for the industry,” said Steve Greenspon, CEO of Honey-Can-Do International and IHA chairman. “A three-day show will help both retailers and exhibitors better control their expenses while getting a more fulfilling show experience. Condensing the show will make it much more efficient to see all the exhibits and displays.”
Exhibitor Bill Endres, president, Select Brands said: “IHA is listening to what key retailers and exhibitors said about the effectiveness of the show, and it is doing everything to put on a first-class global show. Moving (electrics) out of Lakeside is a chance to address changes that will be beneficial to the show layout and to the retailers. Things change, and you need to adapt.”
Exhibitor Jacob Maurer, CEO, Americas at The Cookware Company, added: “We’re excited about the adjacencies offered to companies like ours that are in multiple categories. Retailers will be able to circle back more efficiently as needed. The show will be more active, which is a real positive.”