The holiday season presents consumers with a perfect opportunity to get in touch with their creative side – a behavior that bodes well for the U.S. office supplies market. Several arts, crafts, and traditional supplies categories that require creativity and offer an experience will be among the top industry performers this holiday. And, we know from NPD’s Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey that experiential gifting is not only trending with consumers, but set to grow over last year. In fact, the survey found that four out of 10 consumers plan on giving these types of gifts this year.
When it comes to the craft-related categories, consumer shopping behavior indicates a preference for discovering and purchasing these products in-person as opposed to online. Specifically, NPD data shows that acrylic paints, paint brushes, specialty notecards, and canvases all have a very low penetration in the e-commerce channel. In fact, over 95 percent of purchases in each of these categories are made in-store.
Tied to such products, we expect that popular holiday craft activities will include ornament decorating and homemade holiday décor. In addition, as spending time with friends and family is top of mind during the holidays, we expect the ever-popular canvas painting parties to continue to grow this season, and there are the sales numbers to show for it—canvas sales have grown by 20 percent over the past year.* Coinciding with the maker’s movement and popularity of hand lettering, this season we also expect to see a rise in holiday card making with custom lettering. A variety of writing instruments used for this activity are already seeing growth; collectively, sales of gel, porous, and fountain pens as well as dual, ultra, and extra fine color markers have grown by 8 percent leading up to the holiday season.**
Without a doubt, consumers let their creativity shine during the holiday season, and this presents a favorable opportunity for the office supplies industry to get in on the action.
*Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, 52 weeks ending October 6, 2018 vs. last year
**Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, 13 weeks ending October 6, 2018 vs. last year