Inside the Minds of the UK Gifting and Greetings Buyers

springfair2009New research out today has revealed a fascinating insight into what UK Greetings and Gifting buyers are looking for in their Autumn/Winter 2009 collections and the factors really making and breaking their sectors. The research, carried out by Spring Fair International (the UK’s leading retail trade show) explored what buyers from independents and multiples really want for their A/W 2009 collections, as well as latest trend predictions. It also looked into which sectors buyers expect will suffer most in the credit crunch and suggestions to maximise profits during the economic crisis.

Alison Jackson, Managing Director of Spring Fair International, comments: “Spring Fair International is renowned for bringing the world’s buyers and brands together in one space. The research is an extension to our continuous commitment to provide the most innovative and forward thinking retail platform and gives retailers a real insight into the mind of a buyer. Sustainability has been the ‘buzz’ word of the past year, but how significant is it really to the Greetings and Gifting world? The survey revealed the huge importance of sustainability and environmental issues on consumer purchasing with the largest majority of Greetings and Gifting buyers predicting eco to be the most popular trend for A/W 2009. Over two thirds – 67% – of buyers believe sustainability is most important to their sectors, over provenance and ethically-produced products.

However, provenance is also an increasingly important factor to buyers and is seen as ‘adding value’ to goods, with 27% of Greetings and Gifting buyers revealing it as most important to their sector.

The survey also divulged other key trend predictions for the Greetings and Gifting sectors next year, including: bright colours; Eastern, Russian, and Oriental influence and handmade products. Eco products were also flagged up as best examples of innovation for A/W 2009, including those made from sustainable and natural materials and recyclable products. Fabric wrapped and scratch cards, fragrance lamps and soya wax candles were also noted as innovations for 2009.
For years, retailers have been applying the ‘Good, Better, Best’ philosophy to their pricing ranges. However, in light of the current economic climate, 56% of Greetings and Gifting buyers surveyed believed the middle priced sector would be most affected by an economic slowdown.”

Louise Chidgey, Senior Interiors Editor for global trend analysis service WGSN, comments: “We have seen the middle market suffer before in a difficult economy and certainly the market tends to polarise at times like these – the value and luxury ends being the most resilient. There is no doubt however that 2009 will be a tough year. But tough also drives creativity, sales-enhancing collaborations, and diversification in other products or areas of the market to help protect sales. Brands will need to work harder and identify which parts of the market can still drive sales for them. In particular we see the youth market being strong, with pocket money and casual jobs avoiding the effects of the credit crunch. We also see an increasing demand for products and services suiting the new ‘staying in’ crowd who would normally be spending their money going out and socialising.”

However, catering for the value range doesn’t mean cutting corners on quality. Surprisingly, when asked about what they look for in products, a third of buyers rated ‘high quality’ as the key factor over innovation, price and uniqueness.

The survey also disclosed some invaluable tips that buyers believe can help companies minimise the impact of the credit crunch on their business, including: Impeccable customer service and well trained staff; unmissable promotions; stocking unique and in-house designed products; maintaining advertising and promotion; stocking little and often to monitor the success of each line.

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