I love beautiful things, always have, but don’t consider myself a “shopper”. Thank goodness for that because my house is overflowing with things, memories of travels and growing up, hand-me-down treasures from aunts and grandma, and so much more. I am from Africa and live in Seattle, and my family can attest to the fact that I have brought Africa into my home. It is everywhere, in the art, my jewelry, music and food. That might be why my eye tends to catch the unusual, and is attracted to the hand-made, unique and colorful. I have come to love and truly appreciate and respect the craftsmanship, the conditions of the artisan, and their ingenious ability of up-cycling something considered to be nothing into a worthy treasure.

 

Looking at my own teenagers and the younger generation around me, I have noticed a shift in what they appreciate and their awareness around products. Data shows that over the past several years, growth of purchases in the luxury industry has slowed down. The refreshing trend seems to be that products and services that offer more open and experiential approaches, or less expensive options, are disrupting the older traditional luxury brands.

At a July 2017 “Salon du Luxe” conference of luxury brands in Paris, delegates discussed the new rules of the game: desirability, sustainability and luxury. Younger generations such as the Millennial and Gen Z account for 30 percent of the luxury shoppers and will represent 45 percent by 2025. These younger shoppers are more eco-conscious, less loyal to existing brands, and more digital.

Whether luxury or everyday, products need to adapt to the desires of the consumer. The same trends apply to gifts. For the consumer, or recipient of a gift, the rules have changed. Sustainability creates desire. Think about how Amazon purchasing Wholefoods exemplifies this new desire of consumers when it comes to all things organic, eco-conscious, and local. This is also an opportunity to consider your corporate gifting.   What do you invest in when purchasing promotional products, or gifts for your incentive reward program, are you buying with purpose and giving with intention?

Recipients, similar to consumers, are keen to be part of the chain of good in decisions around ethical, creative, connected and tasteful purchases. Corporations need to take into account that there has been a shift in the mindset of employees, who no longer simply want to possess more goods. Corporate gifts and swag can be more meaningful when thoughtfully procured, aligning with increased levels of awareness and consciousness amongst recipient employees.

I believe there has never been a better time for corporate brands to reflect their values through their approach to gifting and promotional products.

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