Rethinking the holiday season – a virtual meeting with encouraging insights

On 28th July, the free Christmasworld web seminar was held in cooperation with Fashion Snoops, and it reached more than 480 participants online. Leading experts in the festive decoration industry and the Home + Interiors team from Fashion Snoops discussed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the festive season and how it will influence our traditions in the years to come.

In particular, discussions centred around the impacts of the situation on consumer behaviour and the resulting opportunities for manufacturers and retailers. Messe Frankfurt and Fashion Snoops presented this web seminar together with Jaye Anna Mize, VP & Creative Director of Home & Interiors, Fashion Snoops, Julia Uherek, Group Show Director Consumer Goods, Messe Frankfurt, Amanda Farr, Home & Interiors Editor, Fashion Snoops, Helmut Schmidt, Managing Director, Weihnachtsland, Mart Haber, Managing Director, ShiShi, and Pascal Koeleman, Co-founder, 2dezign.

The experts on the panel agreed that overall the themes of sustainability and a new sense of solidarity and responsibility will play an important role in future Christmas decorations. After their experiences of lockdown in the last few months, people are focusing on what is essential – more time with the family, their hobbies, baking, cooking, making things, creative virtual interaction with one another to bridge the physical distance, and improving the appearance of their own four walls. According to Jaye Anna Mize, clearing out and reorganising, getting rid of unnecessary clutter, and keeping and rearranging things that individuals perceive to be precious instead, are some of the most popular activities in the lockdown phase.

In addition to this, the latest trend forecast from Christmasworld is ‘family matters’. In January every year in Frankfurt am Main, the trade fair offers inspiration for the most lucrative time of the year with its range of festive and seasonal decorations. Central to this is personal interaction with family, friends and other communities. “This personal interaction – both in family and business life – cannot be replaced online. We’ve learnt this from the crisis. It will be even nicer when we are eventually allowed to meet up again, surrounded by decorations in our own private homes and city centre shopping streets, which convey a feeling of well-being and a degree of normality and security.

No matter what happens, Christmas will take place and certainly provide a traditional place of retreat”, Julia Uherek emphasises, bringing into focus the positive perspectives for all manufacturers and retailers who are concerned with Christmas-related products and services.

Christmasworld exhibitor Helmut Schmidt echoes her words: “Christmas is celebrated within the family. Nothing will change in that respect. Christmas has survived a number of crises. This year, however, with the pandemic and restricted travel possibilities, we have a situation that’s never been experienced before. I’m sure though that the resurgent trend towards cocooning will give our sector a push. For example, I anticipate that Germans will emulate Americans and start decorating their houses much earlier this year, both outside and in. This will certainly change.” In particular, there will be a greater focus on outdoor decorations this year – all were agreed about this.

“I also think that next Christmas will be celebrated in a more creative, intimate and personal way. This could include, for example, homemade decorations, old recycled decorations, or a Christmas tree made from clay. It’s our task to give retailers and end consumers inspiration for atmospheric decorations that fit perfectly with the spirit of today. There’s no need for everything to be completely new, just newly combined and complemented with small details. Just as with cooking, when fine spices make all the difference”, as Pascal Koeleman corroborates.

The most important thing is to be together, to celebrate, and to exchange ideas – even if we’re physically separated for the time being. The pandemic calls everything into question, and it reminds us of our core values. Fashion Snoops sums up current consumer needs with the following keywords: ‘New traditions’, ‘Self-sustainable’ and ‘Less but better’. Christmasworld exhibitor Mart Haber confirms that customers are paying more attention to quality; they increasingly want to do without plastic and they question the concept of product packaging. “Our shops are open, and in this crisis situation, consumers are happy to spend money on their homes. We can see this clearly”, says Haber. In addition, decorations that can be easily personalised are much in demand – for example, Christmas tree baubles that can be decorated with individualised messages.

The fact that nature is being brought indoors, for example, with real Christmas trees, flowers and plants, and natural materials, fits in very well with the desire for reduced, but at the same time, higher-quality decorations. According to Koeleman, the demand for real Christmas trees is already more than 30 percent higher than last year.

Interest in natural and sustainable materials was already on the rise at Christmasworld 2020 and this trend will continue to strengthen. The corona era appears to have triggered a more conscious way of living. Whilst the new everyday life brings more digitisation with it, it also provides more space for all things that are emotional and haptic. “The retreat into the private sphere, sustainability, recycling, and upcycling are topics that will also play a major role at Christmasworld 2021. From 2021, the ‘Sustainability’ Special Interest Iogo will identify manufacturers who have sustainable products in their ranges. This will be in the exhibitor search, the Christmasworld App, the trade fair catalogue and on the information stands in the exhibition centre”, says Uherek. She gave an overview of the Christmasworld trends for 2021/22, which are on the theme of ‘together’ – a very strong and highly topical concept. The focus remains on sustainability and community here. The ‘contemplative approach’ style world is concentrated on nature: primal, tactile and unpretentious. ‘heirloom feelings’ recalls poetry and grace: nostalgic, young and playful. ‘spirited response’ inspires us with sustainable solutions: original, creative and unconventional.

Helmut Schmidt sums up: “We are very pleased that Christmasworld 2020 was still able to take place. Now we work an extra hour every day. We had about a 20% shortfall in orders with just a few business partners who had to close for longer because of the current situation. This makes participation all the more important at the next Christmasworld in 2021. It will be more important for us than ever before, because personal interaction is essential for successful business. Our customers are able to experience the products haptically, which is essential for our sector.”

If you missed the panel discussion, you can watch it for free at: www.conzoom.solutions.

https://www.conzoom.solutions/en/how-covid-19-affects-the-way-we-decorate/

The next Christmasworld will take place from 29 January to 2 February 2021

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