CHA-Winter 2009 Business Trends

Earlier today, many of you may have caught my Twitter message about how there aren’t any big trends this year. That, in one way, is true – there doesn’t seem to be any dominant style trends like we are used to seeing (like particular colors, etc). The only style trend that I could really point to so far is the use of the 70’s retro owl logo designs, a clear carry-over from home decor and other areas.

But there are definitely trends in areas besides design styles. Call them market trends, if you will – many of them are shaped by the economy.

Smaller Order Minimums: Many of the manufacturers have lowered their minimum order for retailers to extremely low amounts so that they don’t get shut out of the budgets of stores that only have limited amounts to spend.

Smaller Packages:
This trend is appearing on both the wholesale and retail sides. Package sizes are containing fewer items so that the price point is lower for that item. At wholesale, this may mean a retailer only has to purchase 3 of an item instead of 6, meaning they can bring in a full line of sku’s for a lower overall investment and then reorder if it does well. For retail consumers, it means that they will be able to buy items such as stamps without having to commit to a price that is a large percentage of their shopping budget. (For example, these Maya Road stamps that come in small sets – and notice the owl!)


Wedding Bells: So far I haven’t seen a lot of themed lines (except from the companies that have continually specialized in that type of product), but one thing that I am seeing a lot more of than usual I think is wedding themes. This may be an attempt by some manufacturers to capitalize on the DIY wedding concept that is growing in popularity as the economy has softened. Interestingly, most of the wedding collections I’ve seen so far have been similar in color – using black and creme (not white) as their basis. (This Making Memories wedding display is a good example, although it does incorporate some white as well.)


Restraint: The whole tone of this show seems to be restraint in general – smaller booth staffs in a lot of places, toned down (and thus less expensive) displays, smaller lines from a lot of companies, fewer attendees, a smaller show floor, tried-and-true product ideas (nothing experimental and thus risky).

Editor’s Note: In the interest of being able to collect as much information as possible to bring to my readers, I have opted to not post much in the way of updates when the show floor is open since it is so time-consuming to do so and the show floor is so huge. Instead, I am collecting as much information as possible during the limited time I have on the show floor and am bringing it to you in the evenings and after the show. However, I will be twittering my way through the show today, so watch my twitter stream for micro updates!

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