The Everyday Party
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost 19 years since the turn of the century — and the party industry is still partying!
But what will the retail industry look like in 2019? According to Nielson, the top four most-trusted sources of advertising over the past year were: people you know, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews. This means it’s more important than ever to get people to leave you positive reviews on social media and sites like Yelp.
If you do advertise, make sure your ads are relevant and focus on engaging audience members in ways competitors might not be considering. Facebook gets over 8 billionaverage daily video views, and 93 percent of marketers regularly use Facebook for advertising. It doesn’t take a big budget to create some Facebook live videos showing your store.
It’s also important to know how your customer is communicating in the new year. People are five times more likely to watch a Facebook video on a phone. More and more customers are searching and shopping from their phones, which means retailers have to connect with them in new innovative ways.
With that said, automation and advances might be taking retail in new directions, but nothing can replace face-to-face outstanding customer service. It’s important to do your best to add a personal touch or offer direct help when possible. It’s not a new trend, but the next year should be filled with conversations — finding out what your customer needs and what you can do to bring them back again.
When it comes to product trends, we decided to go to the people who know the industry best — the retailers — to get their predictions on what they think the next 365 days will look like.
Here’s what to expect as the calendar turns over to 2019.
What product trends did you notice in 2018?
Becky Applegate, Creative Converting: The farmhouse design style has been trending. Simple color palettes combined with textures like wovens, metal and wood help accent the trend. We’re also seeing anything handmade/handcrafted increasing in popularity. This most likely reflects the continued increase in the personalized/DIY trend.
Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Lane Events & Event Decor Divas: Animated props are preferred by clients, as are props that you can't just walk into the store and purchase.
Alicia Johnston, NY Party Works: Photo booths were the big item for 2018. With so many new versions coming out, there is always something intriguing and different. The Photo Wall is modern looking and compact for smaller spaces.
Mary Billings, Love of Character: Balloons big time — balloon garlands, fringe, giant balloons with tassels and sometimes writing, metallic orbs.
What product trends do you predict for 2019?
Applegate: In terms of colors, look to grays, peach, lavender and rose gold metallics. When it comes to patterns, we predict hand-painted florals and textile prints.
Dean Salakas, The Party People: Customers are demanding higher-end decorations, and we expect this to continue. For example, green crepe streamers no longer cut it as vines. We need to sell real looking vines.
Lane: More animated and elaborate props for a reasonable rental price. As for colors, black, white, and metallic are popular. When it comes to patterns, I predict more fishtail, sequins, lace and velvet.
What themes do you predict?
Lane: Haunted mansions and those that are somewhat historical, which makes it more believable and adds to the scary — such as bringing things like a six-foot-tall headless horseman and his 10-foot tall horse of death to life. Willy Wonka, Candy Land, Casino, Old West, James Bond, and themed murder mysteries like Gatsby, Old West, and Trailer Park have all been popular for my 2019 clients and happen year-round.
Johnston: For 2019, we have a lot of clients looking for LED equipment. It looks really cool and is different. There is mini-golf, darts, air hockey, ping pong, foosball, Chex Hockey and you can even add a Giant Lite Bright. Our Giant Pacman and Space Invaders are also great. Also brand new is the Silent Dance Party. This event is where people dance to music they hear on wireless headphones, giving the effect that they are dancing in silence to their own beat. There are multiple stations, so one guest can be listening to top 40 and another reggae or rap.
Salakas: Themes that were once the most popular are now superseded by medieval, Gatsby, pirate, and superhero.
Billings: Things mixed with rainbows — most of the big players have a version of a die-cut rainbow plate and they are going over really well.
Applegate: Wine parties and ‘Pink Rosé’ for adult entertaining/brunch.
In what ways do you see the party industry as a whole changing in the coming year?
Applegate: The biggest change we see is a continued shift in the increase of online sales, along with the expansion in higher-end/boutique product offerings to complement more of the mainstream party themes and décor.
Johnston: Technology is progressing so fast. Everything now is through social media, so party goers will be sharing all of their experiences through it.
What do you hope to see in the industry in 2019?
Lane: I love that clients are demanding higher quality. I hope to see that continue.
Salakas: I hope to see more innovation with products and use of technology. Foil stamp technology is now cost effective, so we should see more product that is shiny and glittery. Other ranges (other than tableware) need to catch up such as lanterns, buntings, etc.
Product images courtesy of Creative Converting.