The trends, the issues, and productive business
Predictions for 2007
Further consolidation and new opportunities.
by Pam Riddell and Xyron Inc. (January 1, 2007)
Pam Riddell, The Riddell Group and Maps2Memories
Wouldn’t it be great if we DID have a crystal ball and could
see the future? If we did, I think we’d see a lot more stability
in our industry in 2007. This has probably been the most tumultuous
year I’ve seen so far – store closures, manufacturers closing
and consolidating, fickle consumers, and the chain stores, the
ultimate wildcard. Where do we go from here? Many of our retailers
are asking the same thing. It seems all of them have struggled this
year, even those who had been successful previously. The map they
had followed until 2006 just didn’t seem to work this year.
I think 2007 will bring further consolidation – among
manufacturers and even retailers. The strong will start to pull
ahead this year. Independents will work together for the good of
all; it’s ultimately the surest road to survival. Chain stores
will start to shrink their scrapbooking departments and move on to
the next big thing. Manufacturers, some of whom have enjoyed a
roller-coaster ride on the backs of chains, will turn more attention
to the independents if they (manufacturers) ultimately want to
survive. You will see more and better "preferred dealer
programs" from these vendors. Retailers will be more influenced
by sound programs and products than "fluff" – another
key to long-term survival.
And I think you will see less new product from the manufacturers.
Many of them are also struggling, and we’d all like to see an end
to the "dumping" in closeout stores – it hurts us all.
Their product introductions will be smaller and less frequent. And I
hope that all of these changes will affect buying patterns of
independent retailers. There will always be a surge of new
product following shows, but buying should be spread throughout the
year. Retailers need to reorder what’s working and let go of what’s
not. A steady stream of product is what consumers want to see –
not a complete turnover of the store twice a year.
It’s been quite the ride for scrapbooking/paper craft
manufacturers and retailers over the past few years. The industry
has received accolades and scrutiny regarding everything from the
size/strength of the market to the products we sell, the prices we
charge, and the projects we create. And there’s no doubt that 2007
will bring more of all of that, as some dramatic changes are on the
horizon for our industry. In 2007, look for …
Continued Consolidation: It will be the theme among
manufacturers, media, and retailers of all sizes. Scrapbooking shelf
space will be reduced versus 2006 at mass and mass-craft outlets,
the use of the 40% coupon will decrease, promotions will focus more
on product applications and used more sparingly at the big box
stores, and the independent channel will continue to see as much
attrition as it has in the past.
There will also be significant mergers/acquisitions between major
retailers as well as between some key manufacturers. The number of
scrapbooking magazines will also streamline in 2007, with consumers
and manufacturers alike turning to other types of
publications/outlets (such as TV, the web, and general
do-it-yourself or creative-arts magazines) for both advertising and
Demographic Shift: The scrapbook/paper craft consumer will
get younger; or, rather, we as an industry must actively pursue a
younger customer if we are going to spur growth and the
longevity/sustainability of the industry.
Digital: As the scrapbooking lifestyle becomes more
mainstream, the speed offered by digital tools will become more
important. This is not to say scrapbooking will "go
digital," but the emerging trend of "hybrid"
scrapbooking – the use of digital tools and traditional papers and
embellishments for faster/easier crafting – will really take hold.
The result: Technology Tools - a new craft category that really
connects digital photography and craft, spanning all creative
Uncommon Applications: Where scrapbooking manufacturers and
retailers will see growth is with non-scrapbookers and among
scrapbookers who start to use their scrapbooking tools/supplies in
new and different ways; as essentials for home décor,
entertaining, kids crafts, and other projects.
Product Innovation & Quality: In addition to the increase
in competition that will come from consolidation, many retailers
will expand their private labeling initiatives as well, making
defensible IP and product quality more important than ever for
manufacturer, retailer, and customer.
Overall Sales/Growth: The craft & hobby industry will
grow moderately in 2007. This growth will be led largely by home décor,
kids’ crafts, crafts for entertaining, and in the technology
category. Sewing and knitting will likely grow as well.
(Note: To read other predictions for 2007, click on Business-Wise,
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