As we begin looking toward the 2018 Holiday season and we research the newest and most popular trends in products for the 2018 Holiday season, we thought it would be fun to look back and see what was the rage in 2017. This glance back in time gives us the opportunity to see how much things have changed in just one year. We hope you enjoy this quick look bake just one year ago!
I remember a couple of years ago I started seeing YETI bumper stickers on cars in my city of Savannah, GA. I often wondered to myself what YETI was or what it stood for but that didn't last very long. Soon after the bumper stickers started showing up, I overheard people discussing the greatness of the YETI products. In Savannah, fishing is a very popular pastime. My fish-loving friends and acquaintances were the first to discover the brand and they raved about the incredible insulating potential of YETI. I guess it was something about pulling an icy cold beer out of a cooler after hours of offshore fishing in the searing coastal Georgia sun. However, news of the YETI power soon traveled into the mainstream consciousness and consumer behavior, finally exploding onto the gift lists of the masses. I remember being skeptical at first because of the comparatively high prices of the YETI products. But, I was sold after a colleague opened a steaming hot cup of coffee some four hours after pouring the cup. And, yes the coffee was in a YETI tumbler.
YETI has continued to deliver marketing excellence throughout the course of 2018, primarily focusing on the outdoor lifestyle but I suspect they still have a captive mainstream audience. Will the YETI products continue their incredible run for a second straight year? We will have to wait and see but YETI's success this Holiday season is probably a safe bet.
Hey Google. That's all you have to say to activate your own personal assistant. Last year everyone was fascinated with asking their voice-activated speakers just about everything. How's the weather? What time is the game? What's the best pizza near me? And so it goes. Our obsession with needing to know every detail related to our current circumstance has only seemed to grow since last year. Will the Google Home product or so many other similar products be as popular this year? It's probable that this trend will continue. The important thing to ask is what will replace this mode of information gathering? Just one year later, this method of receiving information seems crude somehow, sort of outdated. But, what will be the next big thing in on-demand information delivery? We really haven't seen any significant innovation of this technology in 2018 and it is unlikely that a new bomb will be dropped this late in the year but it is possible. What's more possible is that voice-activated information systems will be able to squeeze out one more shopping season before the manufacturers are compelled to return to the product development table. So, although we shouldn't expect innovation on this technology in 2018, it gives us all something to look forward to in 2019.
Fingerlings are a finger gripping rendition of the timeless finger puppet. Instead of sliding over the fingers, these little animals actually grip the fingers with tiny arms and legs. The meteoric rise in popularity of these colorful plastic little critters is a testament to the great power of marketing. Let's face it, the creatures are cute but their finger puppets. Now, I'm not knocking finger puppets but I do know how long my kids could be entertained with this product. Let's suppose I tossed a couple of Fingerlings into the backseat of my car on a long road trip. These little puppets would probably captivate my daughters for about 10 minutes, maybe 15 if I were lucky. But hats off to WooWee, the commercials and their website make these sweet little puppets seem to be more than just another set of finger puppets. They are so cute and colorful and they look like a ton of fun. I think Fingerlings will have another good year. WooWee's effective use of video and Youtube as a marketing platform is paving the way for the puppets to become popular with toy collectors. Also, since this is an age appropriate product, new customers will continue to grow into the product year after year. Thumbs up for Fingerlings!
The Amazon Fire Stick has been around for a while but last year they added the voice-operated remote control. I think this new feature coupled with a new American comfort level with leaving conventional TV programming products like Dish, Direct TV, and even cable TV fueled the popularity of the Amazon Fire Stick. It is an interesting time in media/television programming for consumers. There are so many different options for programming. Media programming has officially entered the on-demand era. Consumers are realizing that they are no longer tethered to their local cable company or national providers like Comcast. Many of these consumers are jumping ship and seeking new and more personalized options. Think back to last year, Comcast launched an enormous marketing campaign centered around improved customer service. Comcast has bee notorious for poor customer service for years bu it didn't matter because there was no competition. But over the past couple of years, consumer options have mushroomed. As customers abandoned Comcast, customer service suddenly became a priority. Media options like the Amazon Fire Stick are likely to see sales growth this year as the exodus from mainstream media continues. However, providers will need to continue to innovate as the competition for our media dollars continues to intensify.
VR Headsets were wildly popular last year and the year before. The thing about this type of relatively new technology is that is that it just gets better every year. I suppose that the VR headset will be around for a few more years and the experience will continue to improve. Also, the price of these devices has dramatically dropped since last year. You can pick up a top consumer recommended unit for under $40. But, it does feel like this technology, like the voice-activated speaker, will be replaced in the not so distant future. It seems product development in this arena is moving toward a full body experience instead of just a visual experience. Think back to the movie Avatar. VR of the future is likely to be much more immersive than the headsets of today. Users are likely to be in a reclining chair device of some sort that is capable of replicating motion. This will be a nice development as I have seen more that one person swoon during VR headset use!
The Wrap Up
We saw the 2017 Holiday season dominated with toys and electronics, which is nothing new. Sweaters and slippers will always be popular gifts. Gifts like these fulfill that need-based giving behavior which is so important because these are things that we need and will save us the hassle of purchasing them for ourselves. But, the most popular gifts each year are those that are a bit more frivolous, the things we want, not need. You can count on toys and technology to continue topping the most popular gifts list this year and probably for years to come. What will be your favorite gift this year?