The evolving trends in consumer demand and expenditure for Christmas 2013 are interesting and insightful!... for all in businesses.
In essence, there are few consistent, uniform trends. Winners and losers are being identified and are being determined by individual efforts and creativity.
Jewellery sales, a typical discretionary purchase are down – by as much as 40% in some retail outlets. The impact is being felt throughout the full length of the supply chains. More than 21 jewellery wholesalers have ceased trading this year.
Notwithstanding forecasts of 6.3% (and more) increases in revenue this Christmas, over that of last year, sales are flat. However, there are noticeable movements in consumer traffic.
Discount department stores are enjoying a good festive season. This can be explained in part by the absence of significant ranges of new products, services, concepts and applications. “New” represents relevance, and above all, value. Price sensitivity is figuratively and literally discounted.
This Christmas there is a preponderance of “old”, established and traditional offerings. Many have been morphed into commodities, which are available from all and sundry. Hence, price is the key and dominant differentiator.
The deep pockets and advertising power of the duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, owners of Target, K-Mart and Big W are difficult to counter, neutralise and to beat.
The fundamental lesson: “New” is an imperative in the current marketplace. Where you can't differentiate what you market and sell, then differentiate how you market and sell such.
EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS
Another noticeable driving force in the current season is the appeal of experiences, in preference to the purchasing of things. This year the scope of “attractive” experiences is broadening.
In the recent past, focus has been tandem parachute jumps and Harley-Davidson motor cycle rides. For 2013, revenue has been strong for tickets to T-20 international cricket matches, One Day International games, Rolling Stones concerts, “Cavalia”, Crown Resort extravaganzas and memberships to the Eagles, Dockers, Wildcats and other elite sporting clubs.
If those are not “new”, they are different. Moreover, they represent good value, regardless of the price tags.
The marketplace, the economy and consumers (as well as clients) are changing. We, in business, need to change, to create and innovate to sustain a competitive edge and relevance.
January 1 is the start of a New Year. It is important that a “new” you rises to meet the morning, and the challenge.