International perspective from New Zealand’s Deirdre Robinson
With international travel now fully opened up, PG has grabbed its passport for a little globetrotting, checking in with some of the leading greeting card distributors and publishers around the world to find out how the card trade has been in their respective corners.
Today, it’s the turn of Deirdre Robinson, co-owner of The Image Gallery down in New Zealand, to share the fifth instalment from the international perspective…
What has the New Zealand greetings trade been like in the last year?
“The recovery post-Covid has been challenging for most retailers in our category. Consumers took a while to get back into actually going out shopping, particularly in the larger retail malls. There has a strong move to buy local and the smaller provincial towns seem to have recovered quicker than the main urban centres.”
What have been some of the ups and downs?
“International supply chain is still far from normal and, in some places, shows no sign of improvement. We now factor in 120 days for transit from UK to NZ, where it used to be 90 days. Some of our Christmas product shipped from UK at the beginning of August but didn’t arrive until the beginning of December which is just not workable going forwards.
“Inflation pressure on consumer disposable incomes and rising business costs have also been challenging while a left-wing government continues to shower us with additional costs and compliance issues and continual wage pressures.
“On the positives, there has been some good locally-designed products coming through and our market share has increased through some business gains. Some of our UK suppliers have been absolutely wonderful in supporting us with shipping issues and availability of product when we need it, which I immensely appreciate.”
Have you felt a shift in card buying habits?
“During the Covid epidemic where lockdowns impacted greatly on retailers, there was shift in purchasing to the grocery channels that were able to trade. This is, to a lesser extent, still happening. We’ve seen a growth in in captions like Thinking Of You and Thank You during lockdowns and post-Covid.”
What are your hopes and dreams for 2023
“A year of plain sailing would be nice!”
These international views also appeared in the February edition of Progressive Greetings magazine which can be read online here, or you can subscribe here to receive the magazine by post each month.