Kitchen and Bath Show (KBIS) 2011: Trends and Impressions

The biggest three days in the kitchen and bath universe have started at the convention center in Las Vegas with the kickoff of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show which is known as KBIS.
All the big brands are here plus many of the smaller one’s all vying to share their latest and greatest products to the throngs of designers, home builders, showrooms and media.
Yesterday we had the pleasure to participate in the Design Blog panel at the Scripps Multimedia Lounge. I joined four other bloggers as we discussed topics ranging from social media, blogging and our opinions on the future of online media. It was a great experience and I hope they bring back the panel next year and I look forward to more questions from the audience. If you didn’t get a chance to ask something send me a message.
First Impressions
The Vibe: Some have said the show is much smaller than in years past and that is true but the smaller vibe also tends to create more energy in a smaller space. It will be a long time before we ever get back to the heyday that was 5-6 years ago in this industry but if a realistic trade show size is achieved and the attendees are here then I think the show is a success.

Booth Displays: All the big brands like Kohler, Delta, Brizo, TOTO, Merillat – pull out the big guns for the show and although the outside of the booths may look similar to what we’ve seen at previous tradeshow they all seem to make an attempt at showing new product in a unique way. Who pulled this off best? Kohler and TOTO.
Green and Sustainable: This trend isn’t going anywhere and it seems to have finally hit the mainstream as most brands are showcasing some type of eco-friendly product or are at least able to answer questions regarding how responsibly their products are being manufactured. We were most impressed with TOTO’s Hydrotect which reduces pollution and Kohler’s sinks which are made from 80% recycled materials.
QR Codes: Those boxes made of unrecognizable patterns seem ubiquitous at this years show. We tried them out at Delta and a few other spots and they worked nicely but we didn’t see anyone else taking advantage. Basically if you’ve got a QR code reader on your smartphone you simply snap a photo of the code and it will open a web browser on your phone to the internet page the code refers too. It will be interesting to see if QR codes really take hold at trade shows or will they just be a flash in the pan.
Stunts and Gimmicks: We saw less of these at this show. Not many scantily clad girls handing out freebies or guys on bikes working out. We did think the Hanwa Surfaces booth was a bit strange with their surfaces that come to life (using models dressed in bodysuits).
We’ll share more soon as we select our editors picks from the show and as always share all of our photos.

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