Business Industry Industry Profiles Retailer

May 23, 2019 • Sarah Schwartz
Keeping It Real with Consumers and Market Trends

Today people seek equilibrium, authenticity and balance

While the desire for standout design never abates, the market is trending toward a certain down-to-earth quality. That’s just one insight from a new study, Expert Outlook 2019: Find Balance, by global ethnographical market research firm Canvas8. “People seek equilibrium in all aspects of their lives — between humans and technology, brand and personal, global and local,” Editor Jo Allison noted.

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So if 2018 witnessed a desire to escape reality, 2019 addresses it head-on. Thus responsible consumerism is now mainstream. Shoppers seek brands and venues that take positive actions such as cutting back on landfill waste, cumbersome packaging or donating a portion of profits to noteworthy causes.

Meanwhile, the 80s buzzword cocooning has found its 21st-century legs. Homes are evolving into “comfort-first sanctuaries providing respite from an increasingly uncertain world,” predicted Allison. When wooing millennials, especially HENRYs (high earners not yet rich), they’re not afraid to “mix the high with the low to express their personal style,” pointed out Florine Eppe Beauloye, founder of mOOnshot digital.

Indeed, the whole concept of luxury is changing amongst this demographic, explained Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing. “Young people increasingly distrust the elite and powerful, and feel disdain for brands that force them to conform to an external model of luxury. They’re looking for luxury they can define themselves by.”

Online and physical retail spaces will continue cross-contaminating. Brick-and-mortars venture online, while digital retailers open physical spaces. Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, dubbed this transition “Phygital retail,” predicting, “We may see people realizing the wastefulness of shopping online, which may lead to a brick-and-mortar renaissance.”

Jemima Bird, CEO of Hello Finch, recommends retailers shift from transactional thinking to focusing on customer relationships. Retailers should “appeal to the other reasons people buy things — an emotional connection or need for entertainment — rather than simply wanting more possessions.”

Underlying all of these incremental shifts is the maxim to “make it real in 2019,” finished Danziger. “Because pundits, including myself, have overused the term ‘authenticity,’ it’s too often given short shrift. But in 2019 retailers will need to be authentic, real and human, even as techno-powered consumers force them digital. Retailers need that human connection to grow and prosper in the consumer landscape.”

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