January 2024: Industry Update with Doug Cofiell

Ivystone CEO Doug Cofiell shares his insight into how the past few years, the current economy, and stabilizing prices are creating a favorable outlook for our gift and home retailers in the year ahead.

Looking Back

We are looking forward to a very solid year. In 2023, we saw quite a bit of change, and internally we called it a bit of a reset year. After the craziness of 2021 and 2022, where we saw unprecedented demand across the industry, 2023 was a bit of a reboot with inventories, various vendors had excess after the high demand of the previous two years and there was a little bit of a backlog at retail. It was a little heavier on the home accessory side and the furniture side where business was a little tougher at the end of 2022 and it carried over.

Business Upswing

As the year went out, most of our retailers ended up doing really well on the fall season. Business came a little bit late, but it really kicked in for the fourth quarter of 2023. That usually bodes well for the 2024 season. We also want you to know this is the first year in our planning phases where we've had "normal" year. It's really been since back to 2018 and 2019 where we had a regular planning type of year where there's no real situations where there is a high inflation rate, or supply chain issues, or problems overseas in any capacity.

Industry Outlook

Now, obviously, there's a world situation today which is unstable, to say the least. So we don't know what's going to happen, but we're anticipating a pretty good 2024. The long awaited recession never happened in 2023. If you've ever listened to these videos before, we didn't really think that was going to happen. And we feel good about where we predicted business going, and we hope that was helpful to you. In 2024, I can't say I feel as confident as last year about where the economic conditions are going to be broadly, but we do think our industry is going to be in very good shape because of all the calmness of the way things sit.

Improving Prices

You will notice if you go to market or meet with sales reps or see things online, prices are a little different. They are lower kind of across the board. So if you don't know to do this, please ask ask your vendors when you're in a meeting or ask your reps when you get a chance. You may notice it on certain existing items, but on new items, you sometimes miss the fact that prices are a little better and you have a chance to be a little more aggressive with several items across the marketplace.

We welcome you to come to any of our markets, and we'd love if you could meet with our reps on the road. And if you can't, we are always available on Ivystone.com. It is a great resource with our retailer dashboard, it's a great tool for you in the stores. Thank you.