Britain's booming industry

Suranga Herath, CEO of the English Tea Shop, writes about the increased profitability of the gifting sector and how brands and retailers alike can understand and capture the trends

Britain's booming industry: Image 1 Gifting was once reserved for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas, but recently it seems that Britain's gifting industry is booming! We are gifting more things more often, and brands have taken this trend to new heights by offering a range of innovative products designed exclusively to cater to the gifting-crazed nation.

With the ever-growing focus on health, wellness gifting is a sector that has blossomed. We are no longer just gifting flowers and chocolate to cheer someone up or wish them well. Selection boxes and care packages are becoming the gift of choice, particularly from the online retailers that are offering more choice than ever before, with functional teas and craft coffee blends making regular appearances.

According to ResearchandMarkets.com, the global gift retailing market is on track to make $77billion by 2022. The sky is the limit for brands releasing the most innovative and consumer-friendly products into the market. At English Tea Shop, we have witnessed first-hand this increase in demand for products tailored to gifting, as our sales in this area have more than doubled in the past year alone.

To explore the reasons behind this growth, we have put together a list of key trends that are transforming the face of gifting:

¥Aesthetics on social media: More visually led platforms, such as Instagram, have a profound influence on a consumer's decision-making. Products that are aesthetically pleasing perform well, as consumers are increasingly buying products that are Instagrammable. We've seen a major shift in the design and features of products to keep the Instagram appeal.
¥The rise of the influencer: The recent boom in Instagram-based advertising birthed the term influencer. This saw brands gifting product to users with a particularly high followings in increasingly outlandish styles to ensure spots on their profiles. This constant act of brands gifting product in exchange for exposure added fuel to the emerging culture of random acts of gifting.
¥Personalisation: From direct email marketing to adverts acknowledging the viewer, brands are going the extra mile to offer a more personal buying experience. Research from the Deloitte Consumer Review found that one in four consumers are willing to pay more to receive a personalised product. This meant brands created new ways for consumers to personalise the gifting experience, with offerings such as engravings, create-your-own boxes and packages allowing consumers to choose from an assortment of selected products.
¥The emerging ethical consumer: The sustainability agenda has placed more emphasis on the use of plastic and excess waste in packaging. As a result, we've seen brands face increasing pressure to create gifting packages and designs that reduce waste. This has led to craftier, more ethically sourced gifting products and bundles. The days of excessive cling film are over.
¥Tailored to the season: As people are now gifting whatever the weather, brands have tapped into seasonal trends to deliver tailored product to consumers. Cold winter weather provides perfect opportunity for brands, particularly in the hot beverage industry, to introduce products specifically for the season. This is something we have tapped into at English Tea Shop, offering speciality teas that complement each season, such as our Winter Warmer blend.

What's next
There's no doubt that the gifting industry has changed tremendously over the years, but I predict that there will be even more changes and transformations as new consumer trends and technological developments arise.

A look into the crystal ball reveals that brands will have to continue to innovate, finding new ways to keep up with emerging trends in an environmentally conscious way. At English Tea Shop, we have redesigned our selection boxes and rebranded all packaging in a bid to greatly reduce plastic and waste. Our gifting collection's new packaging is now free from plastics and overwrapping. Tea bag sachets are inserted in a box board tray with a lid, allowing us to avoid using multiple levels of packaging (inner boxes, poly wrapping of inner boxes and the plastic tray). These changes fall in line with the industry trends while also setting the precedent to ensure that the brand continues to be pioneering in sustainable practice.

The gifting industry is booming, and it's not showing signs of stopping. In order to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly crowded market, it is important to continue to innovate and offer products that are affordable and environmentally conscious, with an eye-catching design that sets you apart from the rest.

English Tea Shop is an independent speciality tea company, headquartered in the UK, with retail and wholesale customers in 50 countries. English Tea Shop produces a range of more than 130 varieties of teas and tisanes at its factory in Sri Lanka. A fast-growing and ambitious company, English Tea Shop is a pioneer of sustainable practices using the principles of value sharing. For more information visit etsteas.co.uk

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