Gift Shop Plus editor talks trends in LVM webinar
Las Vegas Market co-hosted the Editor’s Choice! Favorite Gift Finds & Trends Coming webinar on July 20, 2021. This event featured Julie McCallum, editorial director for Gift Shop Plus, and Sarah Schwartz, editor-in-chief for Stationery Trends, and David Spencer from Gourmet Business.
In this roundtable format, Dawn Brinson from The Media Matters led the panel through discussions on what 2021 has been like for retailers and consumers, what the current trends are and what the expectations are moving into 2022.
All panelists agreed that distribution channels and obtaining inventory has been a challenge this year. In terms of gift shop retailers, McCallum noted consumers are continuing to improve their “nests” and that home décor products are still in strong demand.
In terms of service, McCallum shared that the buy online/pick-up in the store services are still being embraced by both the retailers and shoppers. And technology continues to help drive sales and engagement with customers, especially through the use of social media platforms such as Instagram — retailers are able to have their store posted on their feeds and can interact directly through messaging with clients.
Schwartz shared that there are three buzzwords in the stationery segment that are impacting sales — authenticity, personality and artisanal. “This is directly tied to the millennial/baby boomer shift,” she explained. Each generation communicates differently and for millennials, they are “very direct and honest” and that is reflected in product offerings.
Schwartz also shared that the ability to express individual personalities through stationery, especially with humor and use of stickers, is all on tap as is customization of products. She also shared that luxury has morphed into more of an artisanal element and that product sourcing, cause-related merchandise and even packaging are all what elevates products and appeals to shoppers as it provides an upscale feel at affordable price points.
Moving towards the end of the year and into 2022, McCallum shared that there are several trends that will continue. First is the Garden & Outdoor Living segment. “People are taking to being outside. Products speaking to the outdoors are popular,” she said. Planters, “the more wacky, the better,” are selling well.
McCallum also shared that travel products, such as silicone glass cases are interesting and provide an easy to clean option for consumers. Phone lanyards and products that feature a “wanderlust” feeling, such as campers are also popular — from magnets to signs and other décor.
Other trends in the gift industry include merchandise that offes a coastal vibe and provides an “unapologetic humor.” From quotations on coffee mugs to pillows, there is no shortage of verbiage to meet consumers’ humor preferences. And in terms of coastal vibes, McCallum noted that products ranging from housewares, to wall décor and even bath and body are featuring an ocean- or lake-feel shoppers enjoy. Even candles and bath and body products are tapping into this by infusing scents that remind shoppers of being on or near the water.
“Corona has brought up COVID-skill,” shared Schwartz. “In stationery, the DIY category was huge, but it has snowballed.” She noted that consumers are seeking to improve existing skills or learn new ones and the DIY category offers ways retailers can help individuals seeking to learn or improve and also create traditions, or family-oriented experiences this category is known for.
Schwartz also expressed that “stickers aren’t going away!” With a myriad of options, from sheets to by the card, this category is really resonating with consumers.