What a dramatic year it's been for retail, with the decline on the High Street accelerated by Covid-19, contrasting with the surge in sales online. We're sad to see the end of some familiar names such as Debenhams but at the same time pleased to see so many shoppers actively seeking out small, specialist local and independent online retailers.
Here are some of the online gift shopping trends we've noticed at Peach Perfect, which we think are set to continue through 2021:
Small really is beautiful
In these uncertain times, we all need to make our budgets go further. But the amount our customers are spending per order is very similar to that of last year - the difference is that they seem to be buying gifts for more people and spending a lower amount on each gift. We've always said that small is beautiful and it can mean far more to someone to receive a thoughtful, inexpensive token every so often rather than a "one off" large or grandiose gesture.
One of our most popular gifts this year, especially since lockdown started, has been our little Swarovski Crystal Guardian Angel. It comes in a host of birthstone colours (and more), as seen above, and is prettily packaged in a little gauze bag with a sentiment attached. People tend to buy several different colours at one go so they've literally been flying off the shelves!
Sending virtual hugs
We love this lockdown trend which seems to be going from strength to strength. Back in early April, one of our customers told us she was buying several suncatchers to send as "virtual hugs" to people she was missing. And since then, we've been sending out more and more lovely sparkly stuff, which is hopefully making people feel a little bit happier and closer to their absent friends!
In the run up to Christmas, we've seen a record amount of orders from our Friendship Gift Collection - yes, all kinds of angels, but also Birthstone Balls and Birthstone Hearts. Not forgetting Art Glass Friendship Hearts like these below, which are beautifully boxed and accompanied by a meaningful sentiment (those little touches again!).
Style plus practicality
One of the reasons for founding Peach Perfect was because Kate often struggled to find gifts that were stylish, useful and long lasting (and not too expensive!) when she went shopping on the High Street. And two of our runaway best sellers this year have shown that she's definitely not the only one looking for this winning combination ...
Customers can't seem to get enough of our Sienna Glass Hanging Bird Feeder, first featured in the Daily Mail last year, and we've lost count of the number of times we've had to restock it! As well as being a practical and durable bird feeder, it's a fabulous hand made piece of garden art that will brighten up the dullest day. We love all four glowing shades but here's the blue version below.
Our second best seller is a very different type of gift, which still embodies these two key qualities. It's our classic and innovative Rainshader Sports Umbrella, which is virtually impossible to turn inside out - and, reassuringly, it's been extensively tested at up to Gale Force 7 wind speed.
Designed with impeccable style in the UK, this is the best umbrella for watching outdoor sport as well as for everyday use in crowded city streets ... and more. Customers have also bought them in volume to use for cast and crew while filming at Pinewood Studios, and even for outdoor choir rehearsals in Northern Ireland (one of the best bits about being a small business is getting to find out interesting stories like these from our customers!).
And some more suggestions ...
This year it's seemed that the only certainty is uncertainty. However, we think the trends we've described look set to continue next year and here are a few more suggestions - so much, of course, depends on when we can get back to a more "normal" way of life:
- Increasing interest in fun, quirky gifts and more unusual personalised presents
- Experimenting with different types of creative crafts - as gifts and for buyers themselves
- Looking for new gift experiences which givers and recipients can share together
We look forward to looking back this time next year to see what actually happened!
We're also planning some new gift ideas for next year so watch this space. And in the meantime, we wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas with happier times to come.