Besides design trends, each CHA trade show usually reveals its share of business trends for the industry as well. Here’s what some of those business trends looked like at CHA-Summer 2009.
There is a massive movement towards paper embellishments in the scrapbooking industry. They are affordable SKU’s for both the manufacturer, retailer and consumer, making them perfect for the current economic climate. Die cut papers, journaling cards & tags, bingo & other game cards, and chipboard buttons are all examples of the current trend towards paper embellishments that are cheaper to produce, cheaper for retailers to stock, and cheaper for consumers to buy. Sassafras, Jillibean Soup, Jenni Bowlin, Tattered Angels, and October Afternoon are some of the standouts in this area.
Cheaper Price Points
The paper embellishments are just part of an overall trend toward less expensive embellishments. As noted in our design trends piece, buttons are back – a relatively affordable alternative to the metal embellishments that were trendy a few years ago. (Metal still exists but it is now a niche market from companies that specialize in a particular vintage look, such as Tim Holtz and 7 Gypsies, instead of everyone making metal pieces.) If you are still a fan of metal, check out Tim Holtz giving a tour of his current line to Noell Hyman of Paperclipping.
Companies are also packaging items in smaller quantities to make the price point lower on the item. Instead of a package of 12 items, you’ll see a package of 6 embellishments. Stamp sets are smaller than in the past. Where there used to be acrylic stamp sets that retailed for $40 from Technique Tuesday and Fancy Pants, now it is rare to find a set that retails for $20. The new e. line from Prima is an excellent example of the new packaging being used by companies. Prima has repackaged mulberry flowers, pearls and bling that were previously sold in large quantities in decorative packaging into small plain paper packages at an MSRP of $1.50 each.
Why are lower price points important to the manufacturers? With the average ticket price going down for consumer purchases, companies have a better chance of ending up in a consumer’s shopping bag if their price point is lower. They might price themselves out of the market if their high price point requires the consumer to commit their entire budget for the shopping trip to a single item.
Lots of Kits
Kits are great for retailers because they can use them as pre-packaged classes, cutting down their costs for developing and packaging classes. Inexperienced scrapbookers like having everything coordinated and being given instructions. Experienced scrapbookers like the convenience. Manufacturers can sell a bundle of products to consumers – a bulk sale – in a way that the consumer is almost guaranteed to not get frustrated figuring out how to work with the product. It’s a win-win for everyone.
The holidays that are the focus of product releases at CHA-Summer lend themselves to cardmaking, and many companies are taking advantage of that to try to find an additional market for their products as cash-strapped consumers turn to more affordable homemade cards to save money. Card samples were on display in many booths, even for product lines that weren’t for the Christmas/Valentine’s Day card making holidays.
Quickutz is investing heavily into the DIY stationery market with its new Letterpress product that allows users to create expensive-looking engraved stationery items such as invitations, place cards, and thank you notes.
Some companies were placing a lot of marketing emphasis on how green their lines are. The e. line by Prima (pictured earlier) is being marketed as both budget and eco-friendly. A few paper lines are starting (or continuing) like Cosmo Cricket to advertise the “eco” certifications that they have received. However, Sandylion took it to a whole new level and made their whole booth about how eco-friendly their presence at the show was.
Of course, the bonus for Sandylion is that “efficiently transported” means more affordable to transport. This booth is a beautiful example of turning cost-cutting into a feature.
There seems to be more emphasis on tools in the scrapbooking market than in the past in an attempt to reach consumers who want to feel they are getting more value for their money by purchasing items they will get multiple uses out of. The most obvious example of this is the ubiquity of acrylic stamps, an affordable but reusable tool that are being sold it seems by virtually every scrapbooking company.
Inks and other similar products (such as Glimmer Mist) are also getting a lot of attention for the tool category. Where consumers used to pay $5-7 for a package of embellishments, most would now rather spend that amount on a reusable item like an inkpad that they can use to create multiple effects.
Higher-priced tools are also getting a lot of attention. Where consumers used to routinely drop $100-200 on consumable supplies at a time, now it seems those large purchases are more often a carefully planned and budgeted reusable tool such as die cutting equipment.
Multiple Holiday Lines
With the increased emphasis on the holidays and cardmaking in papercrafts, some companies are trying to expand their reach in that market by not limiting their customers to one style option. Cosmo Cricket, My Minds Eye, and Kaisercraft were among the companies at CHA-Summer that had multiple holiday lines on display for retailers to choose from, so that retailers could offer several options of styles to their customers.
One trend from CHA-Summer was not actually being at CHA-Summer. There was a long list of major companies who decided to have no presence in Orlando at all, and a second group of companies who decided that they could get more return on their investment by holding events in conjunction with the show but not actually exhibiting at it. Those companies included Fiskars, who held a 360th birthday party at Epcot with some of their Fiskateers, and Scrapbooks Etc. magazine, who held an evening event at the Peabody Hotel across the street from the convention center.