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Personalization makes mark on BTS spending

BY Barbara White-Sax

Despite an economy that’s still in the doldrums, the back-to-school season means parents will once again open their wallets for the annual shopping ritual. “We expect spending to be up again modestly this BTS season — most likely in the low- to mid-single digits,” said Perry James, president of the NPD Group division that follows the category.

James sees product personalization still driving the school supplies category. He said consumers are willing to pay more for products they can customize. “Products that allow consumers to show their individual style, such as patterned Duck brand duct tape and Sharpie Fabric markers, have become popular,” he said.

Mechanical pencils still are strong, James said, with high single-digit growth. “Mechanical pencils continue to be very popular for back to school, and parents are willing to spend more money on them as opposed to traditional wood-cased pencils,” said Susan Lanzarotto, director of stationery marketing at BIC Consumer Products USA.

Lanzarotto said colors and bold writing also are driving the segment. BIC has introduced BIC Cristal Bold and BIC Velocity Bold ballpoint pens, which feature a 1.6-mm ballpoint for extra-smooth and extra-bold writing. BIC’s Shimmers and Velocity ball pens in assorted fashion inks also address the fashion trend.

On the home-office front, James said that as companies become more accepting of working at home, a boom in small office/home offices has begun — a trend NPD calls SOHO. Drug stores, James said, are in an ideal position to capitalize on the trend since they are high-traffic, high-
frequency outlets.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Back To School Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

 

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Sanofi Pasteur announces availability of Sklice head lice lotion

BY Alaric DeArment

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — Sanofi’s vaccine’s division has launched a new treatment for head lice, the company said Monday.

Sanofi Pasteur announced the availability of Sklice (ivermectin) lotion in the 0.5% strength. The drug is approved for patients ages 6 months and older.

The company said head lice cases have increased rapidly in the United States, affecting between 6 million and 12 million children ages 3 to 11 years each year.


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Snacks play bigger role as food culture changes

BY Barbara White-Sax

Snacking is no longer limited to between-meal munching. “The food culture is changing, and snacking occasions are much broader,” said Blaine Becker, a representative for The Hartman Group. Becker said consumers are snacking more frequently during the day and often are reaching for more substantial, healthier snacks.

Research from The Hartman Group indicated that for millennial consumers, the lines between meals have blurred, and “three squares” a day are being replaced by smaller, more frequent meals.

Yogurt, snack and granola bars, chips and nuts hold 4-of-the-top-5 spots in a list of food items that have seen the most growth over the last decade, according to NPD Group’s Harry Balzer. He said these snacks are being used as a meal component or eaten alone as a mini-meal. 

Yogurt is one of the fastest-growing food segments. PepsiCo recently entered the category with its Müller brand. The premium snack segment also is experiencing solid growth and is outpacing overall category growth. All-natural and organic snacks also are seeing strong growth.

Innovation in the premium end of the market traditionally has come from smaller companies, such as Pirate Brands’ Veggie Booty and Stacy’s Pita Chips, companies that pioneered new product categories. Smaller companies now are being joined by the category leaders as larger companies see growth opportunity in the segment. Increasingly, big players, such as Pepsi, are concentrating on the premium, as well as value, segments of the market.

Category growth will be fueled by minimally processed snacks, as well as snacks that provide the innovative flavor profiles consumers continue to prefer.

 

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Snacks Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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