In a January survey conducted by Faire, 75% of brands and 50% of retailers reported they would not attend in-person trade shows in 2021. That’s why—after launching our virtual trade show format in August 2020—we’re committed to hosting online events for our community as the retail landscape evolves.
We were thrilled to host our second event, Faire Winter Market, over the first three days in February 2021. The search and purchase data we collected during the event gives us clear insight into retail trends across product categories. We’re sharing this data with our community so that brands can make decisions about merchandising and product development.
Participation and savings
Over 50% of Faire brands participated in our winter market. Participation was free—brands only needed to set a promotion for the duration of Faire Winter Market. The average brand promotion was a 15% discount, and Faire matched these promotions up to 10%. As a result, retailers saved over $4 million dollars in total—double the savings from Faire Summer Market in August. These savings represent a meaningful dent in budgets as the small business community continues to recover from the pandemic.
Retailers also placed twice as many orders as they did at Faire Summer Market, demonstrating the effectiveness of this new buying format. In fact, in a recent February survey, 50% of retailers reported that their confidence in virtual trade shows as a format has increased.
Retailers at Faire Winter Market purchased products from a wide range of categories. We’re able to identify some distinct buying trends from the top searches and filters used during the event.
The most purchased brands were women-owned, made in the USA, and handmade. Late last year, we predicted consumers would have an even greater preference for sustainable brands in 2021. This also includes fair trade brands. Similarly, in trendspotter Patti Carpenter’s livestream at Faire Winter Market, she discussed a return to investing in high-quality, well-made items.
The top overall search queries during our event revealed that retailers are preparing for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Easter, and that they’re buying more gourmet goods.
The most purchased product categories and items revealed the state of current consumer preferences. As consumers continue to limit their time outside the home, products from kitchen, home, and candle categories continue to prove popular for retailers. Similarly, cozy apparel items like socks and sweatshirts were some of the top-purchased items.
We also saw that cheeky, timely gifts from drinkware to stationery spoke to our retailer community’s sense of humor.