July 2023 Industry Update with Doug Cofiell

Ivystone CEO Doug Cofiell shares his insight into how the current economy, combined with available technologies, will create balance for our gift and home retailers for the remainder of the year.


I want to give you a quick update on what's going on out there, a little bit about our business, and a little bit about the economy at large and what's going on with our retail base across the country.

The Economic Pendulum

2023 has been a different kind of year after the crazy explosive growth of both 2021 and 2022. Our industry is in a settle-down pattern and that is what we are seeing in the broader economy as well. We are still experiencing a ripple effect from the end of 2021 when inventories were very depleted and there was a race to build inventories back up. Everybody had a crazy busy season, we went through a period where the amount of goods purchased in the country completely flopped from the services provided, so we were buying goods as rapidly as we could and everybody had to replenish inventories. Now we're going through a year where inventories are kind of heavy, everybody is adjusting, and we're on that pendulum back and forth. We see it broadly in the economy. It's a little different for each industry, but our industry in particular has been hit by the seesaw and are still in that swing back to normal times.

Fall & Holiday Expectations

We expect the 2023 fall and holiday season will still be pretty robust. We don't expect the downtrodden numbers that they seem to be speaking about. We would expect that with employment so high across the country, that business will remain pretty good in our space. There's clearly a shift to the services industry as more people are traveling and getting out there, but that's good. It's a better balance for the overall economy and a better balance for our industry as things are changing.

Stay In Touch Digitally

As you approach this season, we want to point out a couple things that we've really seen a big difference on. Our retailers that are in touch with how they're handling their customers, both in the store and from a digital perspective, whether that's social, through your websites, through your interactions and live selling, how you're feeding all those different elements of your digital side of your business is crucial as we approach this holiday season, and you are going to need a little edge. We're not in those crazy hyped up times of 2021 and '22. We are in a regular kind of year and it's going to be important to stay in touch with customers.

New Technologies

Don't be afraid of some of the new technologies that are out there. The influence of artificial intelligence is going to be incredible. My one piece of advice that might simplify it for you, is to think of artificial intelligence not as a tech item, but as an HR or personnel tool. Use it to supplement those things you already do well, and experiment with the tools. AI is just one example of all the different tools that are out there, but I encourage you to bring digital into your business, it will become really important for you. And if you're already doing a lot of those things, make sure you stay up to date on it.

If you have any questions or need anything in this upcoming holiday season, please feel free to reach out to anybody from Ivystone. Thank you.