2007 Consumer Trends
Before moving on to this year, a quick look back at “holidaze” 2006. Here’s what happened after Santa dropped off the family gifts from his bag:
Mom is trying to find a time to use her spa day; Dad is sipping his favorite wine; Grandma made plans with her friends to use her Red Lobster gift certificate; the kids immediately downloaded their faves from the iTunes gift certificates they received; Cristina (the Gen Y fashionista) is planning to buy that hot new dress from her favorite store at the mall this weekend; and the whole family watched the “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” DVD on the big flat-screen TV that Dad bought as a family present.
Surprise, surprise, I do not think consumers spent less… I think most retailers lost their share of the spending pie to electronics and experiential gifting (see 2007 Trend No. 8). Plus, there was a resurgence of department store strength that hurt the specialty stores.
But now, on to the top 10 consumer trends for 2007:
1Green Is Good: We are way past the tipping point on this subject, the objections have toppled and green products and practices are everywhere. So color consumers green this year with their interest in non-toxic, energy efficient, sustainable wood, low environmental impact, alternative energy, recycled and organic.
2Hip, Stylish Baby Clothes and Accessories: Brad and Angelina had no “name” clothes for Shiloh’s big picture. The little beauty showed that cutesy is out and stylish new designer baby duds are in, as many of the follow-up stories detailed which new designer’s brand she wore for her People debut. Uber-designer Starck has even designed a baby carriage for this year’s additions to the Speeders generation.
3Personal-Content Generation: Everyone is in this generation! Consumers of all ages are creating content (words, pictures, videos) everywhere, all the time and sharing it. Not just limited to technology content, longhand journal writing is also back. Just don’t pull a Lindsay and let your deep thoughts get published before you edit!
4Live/Work Real Estate: Gen Ys and boomers converge here. Whether young, aspiring artists or newly retired/self-employed practitioners, they are renting/buying (which means outfitting with specialized furniture and products) their new live/work spaces.
5Local Produce: For variety and safety (Popeye, are you careful about the spinach you are eating?) Taste is in, fad diets are out and folks are doing what Mom told them…eating their (locally produced) veggies. Lucky Floridians are eating those ugly tomatoes with real taste that can’t be shipped out of state.
6Healthy Technology: Now we are going to use technology for more than just music when we work out. Tracking and controlling health conditions are on the front burner of interest. Have you had your chip with medical info implanted yet?
7Engineered Pets: “Give me one that has a nice, gentle nature, won’t make me sneeze and gets along well with others.” Behavior is the new pedigree, and little Peanut (the teacup dog) is bred to the family’s specifications. She will be the best-behaved dog at this year’s pet parties.
8Experiential Gifting: Retailers, watch out! More people are getting original with gifting, with cooking classes, restaurant gift certificates, spa days, wine assortments for a tasting party and other experiential things. This means traditional consumer products are losing share in the giftables pie.
9Comfort-Food Cooking: Cakes go retro as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bundt cake pan and Rachael Ray is inspiring us to try stews. On the comeback trail is Beef Stroganoff and the Food Channel is showing everyone how to cook it. Real men cook; real women drink Manhattans! (The cherry in the drink complements the red dress she bought in December.)
10 Innovative Travel: No matter what the conveyance—air or donkey—everyone’s going somewhere and looking for comfortable, convenient, innovative travel products. The 3 ounces of gels are now packed in brightly colored luggage or well-designed functional travel totes along with a plethora of specialized travel-oriented products. Eco travel packages also get a boost this year, and I am planning my trip to Dubai…for the shopping, of course.
Victoria’s Secret Names New CEO
Columbus, Ohio, Limited Brands Inc. on Monday announced that Lori Greeley will replace Grace Nichols as CEO of Victoria’s Secret Stores. Greeley is currently executive VP and general merchandising manager of intimates for Victoria’s Secret.
The retirement of Nichols, a 20-year Limited veteran, from the CEO post was announced in May 2006. She will take a new role supporting initiatives within Victoria’s Secret, including the growth of its Intimissimi brand.
Additionally, Mark Weikel, COO of Victoria’s Secret Stores, will add the title of president.
Wal-Mart to Focus on Expanding Seiyu
New York City, Wal-Mart Stores is open to acquisition opportunities in Japan, but the retailer is more focused on expanding business at its 53%-owned Seiyu chain, according to a report by Reuters. Shares of Seiyu jumped Monday after Wal-Mart vice chairman Michael Duke told the Nikkei business daily that the company might look for more acquisition opportunities in Japan.
The paper reported that Duke welcomed planned changes in corporate laws in May that will enable foreign companies to buy Japanese firms through share swaps.
Wal-Mart last year tried to invest in superstore operator Daiei Inc., aiming to boost its presence in the country, but it lost the chance to Aeon Co., Japan’s second-biggest retail group.
Wal-Mart entered the Japanese market in 2002 by taking a small stake in Seiyu. It has since invested more than $1 billion in the chain, but has yet to return the retailer to profitability.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Wyatt said Wal-Mart’s focus in Japan is on Seiyu.
“It’s a very sizable business today, so we still think that there are a lot of growth opportunities in the existing business,” she said.
In terms of acquisitions, she said: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say we’re shopping for them.”