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‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season when the bright twinkle of Christmas lights and the warm glow of Hanukkah menorah candles come alive. For retailers, the holiday season stretches from early November to January, offering nearly three months of better-than-average sales. As customers rush to purchase last-minute items that will make their winter and holiday celebrations complete, party retailers need to evaluate how their holiday product mix fits with today’s trends. 

Color your holidays

Each holiday season, party retailers build up their stock, make displays look perfect, invest in advertising, and engage employees in offering holiday cheer to customers. But before retailers can embrace the holidays, they need to understand the key product trends facing the industry this winter season.

“Consumers are seeking product that can integrate into their look throughout the winter season and reuse from year to year,” said Valerie Cutts, eCommerce content specialist at Amscan. Champagne, white and chocolate are some of the newest colors of the winter season. Also, head-to-toe monochromatic colors — using different textures in the same color tone, are appealing to today’s consumers. To embrace the trend, Amscan’s featured Christmas collection takes a side step from a traditional red and green palette. The aptly named “Very Merry Teal,” is a chic evergreen print in rich teal with gold metallic accents. Amscan’s premium Hanukkah celebration carries this luxe combination in a vibrant sapphire with the ever-trending gold foil overlay. 

Embracing the unconventional

Lindsay Henry, founder of Inklings Paperie, said her company’s winter and holiday collection is born out of creating things they love, and the range usually comes together quite organically. “If we are inspired by an idea or if we've created something that no one else is doing, then we are quite certain that our customers will be excited about it as well,” she said. “We are not afraid to try new things. That's one of the benefits of being a small and nimble little company.”

In her experience, Henry has seen a growing trend toward more unconventional ways of celebrating the holidays. “The holidays have always been about family, but consumers are inviting their friends in as they redefine what the holidays mean to them. This includes Friendsgiving, Ugly Sweater Parties and Galentine's Day on February 13,” Henry said. 

Today’s consumers are also looking to create new traditions with their families. As such, Henry and her team anticipate advent calendars to be a growing trend — not only for kids, but for people of all ages to enjoy. “This holiday season, we are excited to launch our first Scratch-off Advent Calendar as a modern take on this fun tradition for the holidays,” said Henry. 

Party décor preferences also seem to be moving away from more mainstream “big box” party decorations to more bespoke, personalized ways to celebrate. “People enjoy the DIY aspect of decorating; however, it needs to be easy for them,” Henry said. 

And after the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa holidays wrap up, consumers quickly turn their attention to New Year’s Eve. This year, vintage glitz and glam will continue to be a strong theme for New Year’s Eve party themes. “We expect 2020 to be full of sophisticated parties in a chic roaring 20’s look,” Cutts said. “For the millennial or more casual crowd, our New Year’s Glow Collection is a fun and bright throwback to the ‘90s.” 

Amscan actively looks trend-forward, forecasting what’s hot from pop culture, fashion and decor. “We specialize in special occasions — what a better environment to draw inspiration than social media,” Cutts said. “From the mightiest of milestones, to celebrating the everyday — it’s about sharing your special moments with the world. We look for the extra details to inspire us every day.”

Holiday merchandising displays

How well you show off your holiday merchandise can dramatically impact your sales volume during these busy months. In addition to installing holiday decoration around the interior and exterior of your store, take care to evaluate how your holiday merchandise is displayed. 

Keep your displays as fresh as possible, even during the busy holiday season. Every couple of weeks, try moving displays around to keep them from getting stale — and certainly move them when new merchandise comes in. Because the fairly new products will still be selling, switch displays two weeks after their arrival. Also, be sure to let your holiday merchandise stand away from other merchandise. Jamming products together can overwhelm a customer’s senses and they may simply walk away from a display without making a purchase. 

Originally posted Friday, Jul. 5, 2019