Holiday Gift Ideas

July 30, 2005
Written by Brian Minter
20Take a Peak at What the Home Décor Stores are Up To

Christmas giftware is all about adding value to the home experience!  Demographers indicate that boomers, Generation Jones’ and Generation Xer’s consistently purchase fewer but higher quality and higher value items.   In other words, they want unique, brand name or signature products that make a statement.  They also expect value.

One of the best bits of buying advice I picked up at a seminar at the Ohio Short Course was that when you are considering purchasing products for your store, quickly convert the wholesale price to your markup price, including freight and other real costs, and then ask yourself if you would buy it retail.  This reality check has saved us lots of stagnant inventory.

So after all the preamble, what’s hot this Christmas?  For home décor, it’s lamps and lampshades, wall hangings, plaques, pillars and anything else that adds value to the indoors.  Specialty furniture pieces and pictures are all ‘hot’ as well.  Wine is still huge, martinis are growing by sips and gulps and all the accessories that go with them are huge.  Olive trays are big too.  Elegant is giving way to a sense of humor and fun, so get a little loose on those buying trips.

Food is big too, and all the unique food trays, serving dishes and platters are very much ‘in’.  Food accessories may not necessarily be used for food but for other things too like candles.  Speaking of candles, yes, they’re still very much ‘in’!  There are lots of candle sellers selling candles, but home décor pillars and novelty candles are doing good on sell throughs.  Classy, stylish candleholders are always in demand. 

Giftware can be an important source of holiday revenue, but my how the dynamics have changed.  The dominating categories have become home décor and self enhancement.

20b Thirty-eight billion dollars were spent last year on home improvement in Canada.  The home is still the center of the universe for many folks, but the significant change is that it has also become an entertainment center for family and friends.

It is interesting to see the shift in focus of the major chains like Sears with their Home Centers, the Hudson Bay’s Home Outfitters and Winner’s Home Sense.  Home décor stores are popping up everywhere, and they all seem to be quite effective at honing in on this huge niche opportunity.  Astute giftware buyers have been in step with this trend for some time, but as the holiday season is approaching, many of us could really benefit by shifting our emphasis in this area.  Before you finalize your Christmas buying, it might be a great idea to visit all the best home décor stores in your area to get a sense of existing inventories and how we can ‘gardenize’ those opportunities.

Don’t forget the ‘it’s all about me’ category.  Pampering is still ‘in’ and specialty soaps and lotions are ‘hot’.  Jewelry in a garden store?  You bet!  I’m amazed at the numbers we’ve sold this spring.  Ladies of all ages are either buying for themselves, or it’s moms and grandmothers purchasing them for their younger friends, daughters and granddaughters.  Handbags, footwear and accessories are good items as long as you seasonalize them and provide a new opportunity and excuse to purchase.  We’re doing both Halloween and Christmas themes.

In all giftware, there has to be perceived and real value and usefulness.  Home décor and personal pampering are the key areas on which to concentrate, but don’t eliminate your success in other areas of garden décor and birds, but it’s important to be on the leading edge of these new trends.

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