Vendors Take Fresh Approach To Capture Specialty Sales
As consumers continue to seek out more specialty, unique products for their table, how they are purchasing glassware has been affected. Overall, vendors have reported that today’s consumers are looking for one or two pieces that are unique, a better reflection of their lifestyle and ones that are not always found at traditional retail outlets.
A good indicator of this shift was revealed this year, as according to the Housewares Census 2020, glass beverageware witnessed a slight decline in sales. Many industry insiders have reported that this dip is a reflection of glassware vendors tightening their assortments, downsizing sets and bringing more open stock to market.
This shift in consumer preference has proven to be a challenge for glassware manufacturers, as many have been forced to bring a fresh approach to their product development and manufacturing processes, not to mention their marketing communications. As consumer lifestyles evolve, so too must the approach vendors take to their product portfolios and brand messaging to better meet consumer needs.
Kevin Wellendorf, vp/sales and marketing, Bormioli Luigi Corporation, said that this consumer lifestyle shift, while challenging for the glassware market overall, has proven to be a good opportunity for the company to reposition the Bormioli Rocco and Luigi Bormioli brands as they work more closely together under one corporate umbrella.
“As far as the two brands merging together, we are using this time strategically to leverage different customers to satisfy their needs. The space for the tabletop business continues to decrease but it is an opportunity as glassware is swinging back towards our brands, which can offer more specialty glasses,” he said.
For example, Wellendorf said that there has been more of an affinity for the specialty glassware as of late, which is influenced by the increased consumer access to trends, inspiration and products from across the globe.
“Specialty stores are on the rise, as larger, mass stores continue to shift their footprint in the marketplace and with that comes the opportunity for consumers to find unique, trend-driven glassware that they may not have been exposed to previously,” he said.
Hélène Klimsza, product marketing and development manager, Arc Americas, said that the company is also seeing this shift in consumer purchasing, as more are glancing over the larger 12- to 15-piece glassware sets of previous years and instead focusing on smaller sets that better suit their needs and may have an elevated feature to them, such as a whimsical graphic or elegant motif, such as the company’s new leaf pattern.
“We are seeing that consumers are migrating towards six or four piece sets as their sets of choice. They don’t want to have too many of the same glasses in the kitchen cabinets, so six or four pieces are a better choice for them. We are answering that need by offering our customers set configurations that follow that consumer trend. We are very flexible and can pack our glasses in any box configuration our customers want,” said Klimsza.
For Duralex, tighter six-piece glassware sets have become popular, said Tara Steffen, director of marketing, Duralex, as has the company’s assortment of fashion-forward glasses.
“We have a wide range of products, clear and colored, plain or textured, which allows consumers to choose drinkware items that represents them best. Duralex offers glassware in marine, red, green, yellow, black, smoke, frosted, blue and pink, as well as four pastel colors. Consumers can buy all one color or an assorted set so they can set a table with different colors for each guest,” she said.
Wellendorf noted there is a consumer interest in building a more eclectic assortment in the home, where there is room for the workhorse glasses, but also more special styles, such as the Nick and Nora cocktail glass, and colored glassware, which has grown in its appeal.
“For those consumers that are interested to recreate that Gin Fizz or other specialty cocktail that they may have had at a restaurant, if they are going to put the effort into the research to craft it, they want the right cocktail glass to match it. Premium features and benefits that can enhance that experience are important to consumers,” he said.
While faced with turning their attention to new designs, treatments and colors, vendors said it has not impacted their manufacturing processes.
“Glassware has always been a product of detail and precision. Arc is able to produce various shapes of drinkware, from tumblers to stemware and in various designs, from a more simple plain glass like Rika to the most intricate such as Brighton,” said Klimsza.
Steffen said that the process at Duralex is streamlined and efficient so the timing of manufacturing new advances in glassware design is not significantly affected.
“Consumers will continue to want well made, durable glassware that is safe both indoors and outdoors and that also complements all sorts of dinnerware, especially as they are also more concerned about using environmentally friendly products,” said Steffen.
Wellendorf added that consumers will continue to demand durable, quality glassware that suits their style and taste at home.
“When consumers are buying such performance driven glassware, they are going to invest in the four or six-piece set rather than buying larger sets. Many have smaller spaces they are living in and are satisfied with a few functional glasses and a few specialty glasses to satisfy their needs,” he said.