Anyone who regularly attends the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show would have noticed a marked decrease in attendees at the 2009 event in Atlanta a week and a half ago.

The widely popular show for the kitchen and bath set proved that it’s not immune to the overall recession, which slashed attendance numbers at the International Builders' Show in January and is likely to do the same at most trade shows this year.

Despite the lower numbers and the subdued atmosphere at the show, however, manufacturers still managed to inject a glimmer of hope with innovative, albeit slim, new product introductions. What the products lacked in volume, they made up for in inventiveness.

As usual, plumbing giants Kohler and TOTO led the crowd with a staggering number of new products that is sure to generate buzz in the retail and wholesale world over the next year. And Emtek Products and Rheem proved that innovation continues even when the economy stalls.

Final attendance figures for the show are not complete, but the number is likely to be less than last year’s show in Chicago and much less than the record-setting numbers in 2007 in Las Vegas.

Here is a postmortem on the coolest products you may have missed if you weren’t among the thousands that made the trip to Atlanta.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.