PLH Holiday Design Trends | Christmas Trends

As we say in marketing and retail while planning for the busy Yuletide season– it’s Christmas in July! While most of us in the modern world have an idea of the the core motifs and themes that spring up during the busiest season in retail, there are always nuances and variations that we should be aware of right as we prepare for stocking up our inventories, whether its for a seasonal SKU, seasonal packaging, or even marketing materials that will be released during the holidays for your brand influencers to pick up. Design trends always matter in terms of boosting your sales, so saddle up and know what will sell this coming holiday season 2018.

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We’re talking holiday trends and we’re going to talk design trends. Last time, we talked color trends and then we’ve had a great episode that we did with Brenda Crimi where we talked about seasonal strategies for how you might handle Amazon and what you can expect from the seasonal nature of Amazon or if you’re only offering products in that season and it could be summer season or it could be holiday season. It doesn’t matter, it’s just your timing is off. If you’re planning July Prime Day and doing summer season as your big season because of your product type, that might be ideal too.

Then coming up, Timothy Bush does the On The Shelf podcast, we’re going to do a whole strategy discussion on inventory management and things that become issues, especially when you’re on the shelf or headed into your first season in mass market. It’s a huge ordeal of product management and thought process and you definitely need expert advice in this particular area. He’s been there and done it again and again. I want to talk though about design trends because they matter. People are like, “We’ll just make trees and reindeer and snowman and stuff like that.” That’s great and all of those things that have their own trends and what’s shifting and what’s happening in the artistic nature of how snowmen look and things like that. This is not a deep dive into that. I do that for people so if you have a particular area and you want to know more about seminar or stars or penguins or what’s going on in a particular category or character, you can contact me and we can talk further about what that looks like.

This is a generalized thing for you to expect what might be coming up so that if there is some motif decision or material choice that you’re making, you can make them along the lines of what’s going to be coming up. I’m going to talk a little about why I know. We talked about color trends and they go hand-in-hand with these items. I want to keep that in mind because design trends are affected by the color choices that are made. We talked about grace and this more somber tone to it, but there are lots of little mini sparks and things that are going on here. Some of that is reflected in the design trends and sometimes the design trends are in contrast to that, especially trends that happen with children. We’ll talk a little bit more about that though.

Why do design trends matter? Design trends matter because we have all kinds of decisions that have to be made. When we’re investing in inventory or when we’re making these decisions so far in advance, it helps for us to understand what’s going on in the generalized marketplace. It helps for us to understand what might be going on and how design is shifting. Is it coming more winds of colors? Is it going more cottage? Is it happening more modern? What’s going on with those design trends? When we look at them, we can make some more micro decisions about our products and where we’re going to take them.

These things are important but it’s also important to tie in to a trend, just from change your listing standpoint, I’m going to call it that. Like the verbiage that you use, the photos that you choose to photograph it in, whether you’re going to, let’s say you have a home decor product that you make. While it may be a great home decor product all year and that’s where your photos are, you might want to take a holiday picture. If you take a holiday picture and add it to your listing or add it to your mark materials or to your social media channel, you want to make sure that that’s on trend because otherwise you’re not going to get the shares you expect from it. You’re not going to get bloggers to pick it up. You want to expect because it’s going to need to tie into the visual story that they’re telling at that time to and a lot of these tie into these design trends. Being on trend really does matter in terms of boosting your sales. In 2017, we had a lot of blue Christmas trees. Blue was in. Blue is not in now, purple is in. It’s something that we talked about in the color and trend forecast.

This is almost a little bit gaudy. It’s bold and bright and it was a way to just shift the conversation at the end of last year that a lot of editorial publications came out with. I have to say that we didn’t see an actual lot of traction of it selling. It was in a lot of magazines but people weren’t buying it. I think that’s why this year has reflected to a much more simplistic view and has really shifted. Blue Christmas trees are out, more simplified, modern Christmas trees with a much more somber and simple and timeless palette and it is tapping into what’s going on. Last year we saw a lot of very similar interior design trends like this twiggy thing was going on there. This year, we’re seeing these tree alternative themes, but they are more stylized and much more modern in some little upscale materials. They don’t look so handmade.

PLH Holiday Design Trends | Christmas Trends

Christmas Trends: Blue Christmas trees are out, more simplified, modern Christmas trees with a much more somber and simple and timeless palette and it is tapping into what’s going on.

While there were a lot of DIY looking styles, do-it-yourself looking styles and a lot of natural, that was going on. This year, we see a continuation of those interior design trends matching with the decor and that decor is not as DIY or not as natural handmade looking. There’s some DIY in it but it’s not as rustic. There’s still a little bit of rustic. The real key to the interior design trends, it surprised a lot of people because we hadn’t seen that. We’d seen holiday be in contrast to the design trends. Thinking about what was going on as you were decorating your home over the course of the year, you would accent for Christmas.

Christmas would be the spark right up, right of color. Instead it’s much more integrated into the environment. That’s what we’re seeing there. Are you ready to hear the predictions for the future and design trends that are going to be for this holiday? Interior integration. You can see how there might be little things that go on that would be kept into your space. It looks like they’ve got a little fun in the picture frame there. You could change that out for any season. That part of the interior integration is there. It looks like you could hang any message, you could say joy at the holiday time, but it could say love the rest of the year. These are the things where you’re seeing this, those garland’s that are going across it.

You could be celebrating birthday, you don’t have to be celebrating Christmas with that. Same thing with the light fixture. It’s looks like Christmas ornaments but it could be utilized all times of year. You could see instead of using trees, you could be using seashells in the summer. The interior integration is like using accents and moving things around but creating synergy within the interior theme you’ve already created. That’s why I’m calling the theme interior integration. This also creates much more timelessness so you can take out anything that might be directly Christmas related and remove it by January and yet you could still keep up the majority of what you’ve got and so you don’t have to redecorate.

PLH Holiday Design Trends | Christmas Trends

Christmas Trends: The interior integration is like using accents and moving things around but creating synergy within the interior theme you’ve already created.

It’s not a short-term decoration mode that you’re in for three weeks of the holiday or something like that. That’s another reason is it’s just time commitment. You take the time to decorate, the last thing you want to do is turn around and then take it right down again. If you can put it up early November and use it through Thanksgiving, through Christmas and through New Year and sometime into January before you switch it up again, that makes for a much more reason to be buying something to use in your environment rather than just this impulse buy of something you’re going to use for a few weeks.

Of these modern tree trends, this modern shift of it, you can see that there’s still a little rustic-ness. The choice of woods, the choice of finish is there but the shapes are really modern. The cut outs are going on there, there’s some amount of intricacy happening. We’re seeing a lot of texture and things coming into this. We’re seeing a lot more, I’m going to call them a Black Panther inspired textures where you have much more textures going lines and geometric shapes going on. That’s inspiring some of this modern tree trends look. That is the modern-ness that is happening but it has a nod to the old, but still geometric and that’s really one of the things that we want to keep going here.

Geometric And Rustic DIY

If you have a choice to do something, be that as much more whimsical, I would instead do something more geometric. This rustic DIY is still being revisited. We’re still using rustic woods. We’re still doing painting on them, but what we put on them is simple. We may have no decor on there, no spots of color, keeping the Woodbury natural or keeping it very gray and putting simple things in white on there. White is one of our color trends. This is just a little shift in how the DIY looks or in a lot of cases what you guys were making out there is the production version of the DIY style. Keeping that in mind that this is what we expect the purchasing trends to be about.

A Lot More Light

We’re bringing a lot more light inside our spaces. We’ve been seeing a lot of lighting fixture growth in the interior markets. We’ve been seeing them with bottles and balls and lamps that are created or light fixtures that are created out of multiple pieces that are hung. They’re doing extremely well and they’ve been on the growth trend for a couple of years now and we’re still seeing an increase in them. For this season, there will be a lot more holiday star shapes and things like that but stars can also translate into January. It can spread out, it doesn’t just have to do with Christmas, it can do with the whole winter season. I’m pointing out that they’re round and not star shaped but the glass bulb light fixture that’s there, we have seen in some of the factories star-shaped ones.

I have no pictures of them but we see them, they’re coming up. You could have this light fixture and replace out your balls with stars or replace a few of them. That would be a way in which you could decorate for the holiday but keep it still for the rest of the year. We’re seeing a lot of these come in, paper cut out stars, wood stars, the tin star that you see with all the ornaments, bulb inside of it. This was a trend for a while, we’re using glass hurricanes and dumping off metallic colored holiday bulbs, ornament bulbs. You see that continuing here but we’re using alternative shapes. We’re using things like stars. There are a lot of this romantic texture and remember how I was referring to that geometric shapes that are going on. If you’re doing something that’s in fashion, more for women, premium and high-end.

Velvet, Silk, Beadings, And Sequins

We’re seeing a lot of velvet and silk combinations, beading and sequins. We’re also seeing the more in the color that’s on the top in the wedding dress with that gray and champagne color, little bits of fur and feathers. These things are coming in so we have a lot of romantic textures going on and those romantic flowy kinds of things, but we’re seeing them with a little bit of sparkle and a little bit of richness like fur, and we’re just seeing a little bit of that premium item that comes in from having a little bit of a satiny look to it. Depending on the market, how upscale you’re going or how much towards just women you’re going. There might be a little bit of differences and nuances and of course that fashion accessories follow fashion in a much more direct way. This is the trend that we’re seeing here.

PLH Holiday Design Trends | Christmas Trends

Dark Or Neutral Colors

We’re seeing darker colors here. Lots of fashions in dark colors or in very neutralized grayed out pallets with sparks of white and champagne. This one we were expanded from the color trends of using the purple but we’ve come into plaids, especially in lots of kid dresses, things like that. We tend to see a lot of plaids, men’s ties. We’re going to see a lot of plaids with purple accents like this. Those cufflinks in the corner are good indicator of this. We’re seeing purple as coming into being a holiday color this year and we’re seeing it come in and utilized in this accent way. Kids, unicorns, penguins. We’ve seen a lot of penguins, a lot of snowman.

Year Of The Unicorn

This is the year of the Unicorn. We’re seeing Unicorn everywhere. As you can see, we’re even seeing Unicorn reindeer start to emerge. Unicorns are the kid’s gift of this year. It may cascade for some markets from last year. That is coming off in a Unicorn bath robes, slippers, sheets and just everything. The unicorns that are being used in the decor and in the environmental pieces that you might be putting on your tree, the ornaments and things like that. They’re simple, they’re white, they’re sparkly, they’ve got just a little bit of that. They’re not garish and rainbow-ish and things like that. They’re very simplified for this season. If you are doing things direct to kids though, you may want to reconsider that and we can always talk about that if you have questions.

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You absolutely can’t predict your pets. We’ve seen this trend happening for quite some years now. It’s only increased because there’s been more manufactured versions of it than DIY versions of it, but cats and dogs and getting them their own stockings, integrating them right into your environment because our pets are our family. Anything you have that might be a great pampered pet present should be repackaged and remarket. This is something that Brenda was talking about is like a strategy for the holiday is to rebundle things and group them together and give them new packages and things like that. This is a great way to do that because pets are important and they are a significant amount of what is purchased online and in stores. We talked a little bit about trends that we’re continuing over and these are ones that are, that picture of the cake is in the color trends because of the nice silver gray that’s going onto it.

Rustic, Raw, Natural Cakes

We saw a lot of, I’m going to call them rustic cakes. Raw cakes, natural cakes. This idea where you basically had very little frosting on the outside of it and it would give you this rough look of the cake coming through of it and little bits of frosting coming on. It looked like your cake was distressed. This year we’re seeing much more of this like naturalized form of cakes. It’s happening in all kinds of pastries and other things. If that’s your market area or you’re doing candies or foods and other things, be thinking about how this trend is affecting you there. It’s shifting into bringing in more sugar again. Why not? It’s totally fun.

That’s why that was seen so much in there, but the reason I’m showing this particular bouquet and in floral arrangements because if you’re choosing flowers, we’re seeing a lot more unusual. People call them ugly flowers, Proteas. It’s my favorite flower and I’m thrilled to see it come back into trend because it’s expensive and hard to find, but we are starting to see more of that at the holiday time again. We expect to see more of that throughout the year as well. You see these more unusual flowers that are coming in. They are heartier, dry well and stick around for much longer in the seasons so they don’t die off quickly. That’s something that is keeping with that trend that’s happening in overall products of any kind. You want it to stick around more than a few days.

Simple And Understated Wrapping Paper

We’ve had a lot of this wrapping paper that looks stamped or handmade. We’re seeing a lot more of it like preprinted now. Here’s where I encourage you to go for the simple small motifs, not gigantic, not garish. Really keeping it simple, understated, you could even do it tone on tone so you could have dark green paper with silver green stamped on that. You could go the other way. Keeping the wrapping simple. We have seen them throughout the year, mermaid sequence. It’s the sequence where you brush them one direction and they say one thing or they show one single color and you brushed in the other direction and they show the color on the other direction.

They’re on kids’ clothes. I have an ugly Christmas sweater that says “Naughty” in one direction and “Nice” the other. Lots of these are emerging. People are real fans of them. Kids love them, cannot get enough of them and want them at all seasons right now. I wanted to point those out because that trend is continuing through the holidays again this year. Little bit of recap on what our trends were. We’re talking modern geometric cutout shapes. They could be stars, trees, snowflakes. They could be anything. Keep into this geometric higher material, less distress, more like a rough finish, less raw wood look. Unicorn dreams, we’ve got Unicorns everywhere. Keeping them simple, keeping them white, keeping them sweet is another thing to think about.

Romantic Shine and Pampered Pets

We’ve got a lot of romantic shine going on. If you’re in women’s clothing, women’s accessories, fashion of any kind, interior stars. If you’re doing lighting and décor, purple plaid. We’re seeing that in men’s wear, children’s wear and some amount of women’s wear, but I would say more on the accent side. You might have a belt or you might have a bag. Then we’ve got pampered pets. You cannot think enough about coming up with or repackaging your product for a holiday gift giving for pets. That’s it on the overall holiday trends.

I hope that helps you define what you might do for this holiday season and how things might go for you and where you’re going to shift some of the choices that you’re making over time. If I didn’t cover one of your product area, because these are little soundbites from trend reports that I do for clients. I’ve pulled them out with new images because I don’t even share my client images with you of the plans that I have for them. I wanted to share them with you because if you can tap in, if you can get a small amount of this insider information about what’s happening in the marketplace, it’s just going to make it easier for you to get your products to be reviewed, to be blogged about, to end up in Pinterest board, to end up in a product review.

PLH Holiday Design Trends | Christmas Trends

Christmas Trends: If you can get a small amount of this insider information about what’s happening in the marketplace, it’s just going to make it easier for you to get your products to be reviewed.

Any one of those things could happen for you if you do this right. It also translates into more sales. I know that that happens because when you’re looking for gifts and you say, I’m going to do for my kids this year a Unicorn theme, I’m going to buy Unicorn wrapping paper and I’m going to buy Unicorn PJs for Christmas Eve and I’m going to buy Unicorn bathrobes and slippers for the next morning and I’m going to buy Unicorn ornaments for the tree with the year on it.

All of those things might go about and happen. Think about this because you’re going to be making some last-minute choices here. If you can make a shift that ties into one of these trends, then you’re going to have a better likelihood for success. You don’t want to go and miss the Seasonal Inventory Strategy Session with Tim Bush. Just make sure that you’re tuned in. We haven’t seen a lot of activity on Product Launch Hazzards live. We’ve been getting a lot of questions and other things dropped into email and chats. Here’s your chance to ask people questions. There were so many great questions that happened in before with our IP attorney, Jason Webb, and questions that have been dropped in for Jeff & Jenna Lieber. Keep in mind that we’ve got these experts here for you and we can customize it better if you ask us the right questions. Please participate in the next Product Launch Hazzards Office Hours. Until next time.

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