Market Pulse & Looking Ahead with 4 Industry Leaders

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Four consumer executives shared their thoughts on how volatile consumer spending (from lockdowns to supply chain chaos, increased demand and now 9% inflation) that affected 2020/21 is shaping up to affect the second half of 2022 and going into 2023.

Real insights from real-world leaders: Allison Barrows (VP at Ganz, a designer/distributor of gift, décor, and apparel), John Toler (CEO at Evergreen Enterprises, a distributor/manufacturer of outdoor living and home products), Joe Harris (Chief Revenue Officer at Whereoware, a digital agency) and Doug Cofiell (CEO at Ivystone, a national sales agency)

2:45 – the smartest retailers were “the ones who figured out exactly how to manage their inventory.”

4:47 – most common retailer product request at Summer 2022 markets (at Ganz): “lower price point items… ‘pick me up, feel good’ items”

6:24 – on digital infrastructure spending: “digital continues to be an important part of the go-to-market strategy, and those who are investing, are seeing the returns.”

8:08 – Online consumers will “continue to grow.”

9:31 – “The shifting in merchandise mix has gone from making my home look pretty, to making me feel better… from the home to me.”

10:00 – “Higher end (design side of the business) doesn’t have much slow down.”

14:13 – I asked each guest to describe consumer spending on a scale of 1 to 10, across three time periods. The average of all four replies (with significant differences between product categories):

  • 2019/pre-Covid – consumer spending was an “8” (of 10)
  • 2020/2021 – consumer spending was a “10 (or 12) out of 10” (off the charts)
  • Going into 2023 – 8.5 or 9+, better than pre-Covid

18:52 – “We sold Garden 2023 for the last 45 days… and purchasing is down vs. 2021… but above 2019.”

20:36 – “We chased demand and built capacity (the last two years)… so the cost side and inventory needs to be looked at… for retailers, vendors, and sales agencies.”

22:00 – “There’s been so much volatility… as we start to settle back down, to understand… the appropriate costs.”

23:26 – Next year will be all about “Data. It’s all about making the data actionable.”

25:02 – “The second big thing is the customer (digital) experience, it’s not just about ‘look’ but it’s all about being seamless, easy to use (multi-channel integration).”

27:56 – The best retailers “recognize the consumer is changing… and are combining the digital and the physical really well.”

31:20 – what’s on our minds as we think about growth in 2023? “Aggressive” – “Customer Experience” – “Daring and Risk-taking.”

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