Well, 2023 was a wild ride!
Last year we pulled together all the highs and lows of the year in our first-ever look back with CREOATE Wrapped 2022 which you can check out here. Now that 2023 is slowly slipping away, to give it the send-off it deserves, we’re back with fresh insights and updates on the past 12 months, from our very own seller community.
On this page
- Reflecting on 2023’s Biggest Achievements
- What Goals Are Brands Prioritising for 2024?
- Predicting 2024’s Biggest Challenges
- New Year, Fresh Start
Reflecting on 2023’s biggest achievements
As ever, achievements for our sellers varied across industries and product niches, but the word cloud below captures just some of the recurring words and themes mentioned.
Multi-award-winning, cruelty-free independent skincare brand Whitfords continued to grow despite many challenges and the economic crisis, with 2023 seeing them gain their first Hong Kong-based stockist.
Meanwhile, ethical and independent toy brand Best Years developed a Scottish range. Commercial Director Gaynor Humphrey explains, ‘We realised that our trade shows had effectively created a geographical mix of customers which reflected where we had exhibited, rather than where our products appealed the most.’
‘With the help of some Scottish customers, we developed dinosaurs in tartan cotton, Highland Cows and Puffins. The range has been a great success and we are currently developing a Welsh range. We also have an American dinosaur, Mastodon arriving in early 2024.’
For Yorkshire-based vegan and cruelty-free home fragrance brand Country and Cove, 2023 was its first year selling to retailers. The brand honed production techniques, allowing them to make more products in less time, and in turn, increased turnover by 30% by selling wholesale.
Dublin-based independent womenswear brand Allicano Dublin won awards at Prestige Luxury womenswear brand 23/24. With achievements ranging from very big and impactful business moves, to simply staying afloat during turbulent times and an ever-shifting economic landscape, we’re proud of every one of the brands on our platform for finding something to celebrate this year.
As far as CREOATE's best-selling categories, we got some data back on what buyers were loving the most across our product catalogue this year, with homeware, home fragrance and beauty stealing the show in 2023.
What goals are brands prioritising for 2024?
In our Seller Insight survey, almost 65% of CREOATE sellers shared that their main priority for next year is to reach new retailers, with a quarter of respondents also looking to boost sales in the year ahead.
As far as priorities for 2024, for gift and accessories brand The 3 Sisters Design Co., ‘Spotting trends and hitting them first is important, but building our customer base and providing exceptional customer service is a tie’. Prioritising customer support is always a wise choice, with a 2018 survey revealing that 66% of US shoppers considered customer service to be of utmost importance to them when choosing a brand.
Recent survey data also suggests that as far as how we shop, smartphones are the favoured option. Preferred by nearly 70% of online shoppers in the UK alone, with forecasts indicating retail sales from mobile ecommerce in the United Kingdom are expected to surpass the 100 billion British pounds mark by 2024.
Globally, mobile ecommerce sales reached $2.2 trillion in 2023, and now make up 60% of all ecommerce sales around the world, up from just 56% in 2018.
Optimising the online experience
As of early 2023, approximately 43% of consumers in the United States said they prefer to shop mostly online rather than in-store, making it the country with the highest online shopping preference. This is good news for ecommerce retailers, and a further reminder of the importance of a user-friendly online store.
And while Baby Boomers are the only generation with a strong preference for in-store shopping, this isn’t the end for the high street. As with everything, the in-person shopping experience is just in the process of adapting to changing habits and needs. Over 2 in 5 Gen Z say they prefer shopping in person to shopping online, a figure that’s remained steady since 2020. That being said, younger shoppers greatly value personalisation, and a more tailored shopping experience.
How can retailers use AI to their advantage?
Despite the bad press it often attracts, AI can be used as a wonderfully efficient tool for creative retail solutions, and independent businesses would be mad to ignore it completely. 34% of Gen Z and Millennials are ‘hopeful’ and ‘excited’ about AI.
With personalised promotions and product recommendations high on the list of priorities for the younger generation of shoppers, we can see why, since AI is a super effective way of improving omnichannel shopping experiences.
Predicting 2024’s biggest challenges
For the CREOATE seller community, finding new customers is predicted to be 2024’s biggest challenge for 3 out of every 4 respondents.
Commercial Director of Best Years' Gaynor Humphrey tells us more about their strategy change to meet this challenge, ‘We are having a complete shake-up of where and how we meet customers. We won’t be doing Top Drawer, Harrogate Home and Gift, or the Spring/Autumn Fair. This will be the first time we won’t be at least 2 or 3 of these shows since we set up the company over 20 years ago. We also won’t be advertising, either digitally or in print, nor will we do any PR.’
‘The commercial world has changed since Covid’, explains Gaynor, ‘and continuing with the same traditional methods is no longer an effective strategy.’
‘We see 2024 as a year of change. We will be attending new trade shows, exhibiting in the USA, and we will have a fund for opportunities as they occur through the year. Learning from 2024 will mean a more consolidated sales plan for 2025.’
Back to the numbers: unsurprisingly, inflation and the ongoing cost of living crisis continue to pose a major challenge for brands, with almost half of all respondents citing it as a major concern. Following this, over 38% of brands are concerned with staying competitive, and up to a quarter of respondents foresee a change in customer buying habits as a potential obstacle. But how exactly are customer spending habits predicted to change in 2024?
With wallets being stretched, many customers want to balance quality and price. All around the world, second-hand shopping is on the rise to meet customers’ shifting sustainability and personal finance priorities.
When consumers do spend, they’re typically prioritising premium quality, and products that offer lasting value. This trend is set to carry through into 2024, alongside a decline in consumers prioritising low-cost items. The shift here is all about buying less, but spending more on longer-lasting items of higher quality.
So, it’s time for brands to begin investing in premium quality product offerings, big time. But, be sure you can justify your costs. A 2022 survey carried out among consumers all around the world saw 60% state that above all else, trustworthiness and transparency were the most important traits of a brand. Just a year prior, the share stood at 55 per cent, proving that integrity within the brand/consumer relationship is of growing importance.
According to Statista’s 2024 trend report, over 40% of consumers are open to paying extra for sustainable food and drink, and around 1 in 3 consumers are willing to do the same for sustainable beauty and personal care, home and laundry, as well as apparel and footwear items.
At CREOATE, we’ve long been aware of the growing demand for greener products, and have a number of product collections to help our customers stock up sustainably in no time:
- Sustainable Homeware
- Sustainable Fashion
- Sustainable Stocking Fillers
- Eco-friendly Beauty Products
- Vegan Food
In good news for sellers spearheading all things sustainable, one of CREOATE’s sellers, Slab Artisan Fudge noted that ‘Vegan sales have grown year on year’, and predicts further growth in this area.
New year, fresh start
Approaching a new year can feel pretty overwhelming, especially with the economic scene throwing us more than a few curveballs. Keeping a positive yet realistic mindset is key.
Need an extra dose of motivation or support? Connect with us on Instagram for tips, inspiration, and a bunch of other content designed to bring out the best in your business. Dive into our blog for more insights on wholesale selling, staying on top of trends, and growing your business.
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