Social and cultural trends for the gifts and decorative articles market in europe
Producers and exporters of gifts and decorative articles have an ever growing market in Europe which is largely influenced by the following social and cultural trends:
Individualization - Increasing individualization is one of the most important social trends within Europe. In general, it can be said that the taste of modern consumers regarding the decoration of their homes is very personal. Therefore, product design, colour and materials play an important role in the decision-making process. This in turn has influenced the demand for gifts and decorative items, particularly home decorations.
Seasonality - Seasons play a major role in the buying patterns of gifts and decorative items. Approximately two thirds of decorative items are sold in the second half of the year. The peak periods for the sales of gifts generally revolve around special seasons, such as Christmas and New Year

Increasing interest in interior decoration – There is public interest in interior design across much of Europe, due to influence from interior design magazines and the popularity of television programmes. These developments have in turn led to an increased interest in purchasing household accessories, which follow certain themes and complement the overall décor of the house and garden.

Fashion - Consumers have become more adventurous in their use of colour and style within the home. Currently, consumers tend to look not only for products but for a complete lifestyle solution. An increasing share of retailers are therefore selling matching accessories and lifestyle-enhancing items such as candles, cushions, etc., next to their core product range.

The ‘Health’ trend - There is a growing trend towards health and wellness. Today’s stressful society has a positive effect on the sale of health-related products, for example fragranced candles. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), an increasing number of consumers believe that a certain scent can enhance their well-being by having a calming, relaxing or anti-depressant effect.

Vacations - The increasing number of vacations in developing countries leads to people becoming more familiar with the art, i.e. the handicrafts and culture, of a particular region or country, even during a limited vacation stay thus leading to a willingness to buy typical items from that region or country when they have returned home, (Source: the African Technical Department).

Increasing immigration - The increasing immigration into the EU of people from developing countries has also led to a specific demand for home-country related products. France, for example, has strong ties with Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, largely due to colonial history.

Popularity of gardening - Gardening has also benefited from the increasing interest amongst Europeans however there are number of determinants affecting the popularity of gardening. First, the expenditure on garden-related products responds positively to warm and dry weather and negatively to cold and wet weather .Second, the house ownership ratio. House owners generally spend more on garden related products than people who rent their homes. The third is the level of disposable income; this has an influence on the expenditure on nonessentials and hobby products.
Environmental concern - Environmental awareness in the E.U has influenced the demand for gifts and decorative articles, its impact can be negative as well as positive. Customers concerned with ecology tend to prefer goods made of organic materials, however use of endangered plants, or products made from endangered species such as hardwoods from rain forests or ivory, can create an environmental backlash against a product. Producers who take these aspects consciously into account generally gain more appreciation from consumers and buyers, than those who do not.
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