Time and again there are trend themes in trading. This spring it was the Fidget Spinner, which – pushed from Social Media and YouTube – stirred up the trading industry. Meanwhile the market has calmed down and because the percentage of wholesale purchases through online platforms has increased, zentrada has the opportunity to make a retrospective analysis.
The retail market was taken by surprise by the sudden demand for Hand and Fidget Spinner. Thanks to wholesale marketplaces like zentrada the retailers were able to source the products relatively quickly, and therefore the spike in wholesale demand was before the spike in retail and accordingly Google. In contrast to previous trend topics, the extreme peak level stands out, but also the timely closeness between growth and decline in the Product Life Cycle is unusual, especially considering the geographic reach of the data. In previous years, trends had started in the USA, landed in Great Britain and the Netherlands, and slowly spread throughout Europe from West to East and southern Europe.
In contrast, the demand for Fidget Spinner developed after a different pattern. It exploded worldwide at almost the same time and imploded a few weeks later. This created an extreme pressure for the supply chain. “Platforms like zentrada finally enabled the market to connect demand and available products quickly and across Europe”, explains zentrada CEO Ingo Schloo.
The trading professional was not surprise that the great time pressure eventually also lead to problems with the quality, safety and certification. The Main Customs Office in Frankfurt announced that it confiscated and destroyed more than one Million Fidget Spinner in May. Even experienced importers couldn’t eliminate quality defects completely and the zentrada TradeSafe process alone settled hundreds of problem cases to protect the commercial buyers.
The Fidget Spinners are toys and therefore fall under the second provision of the Law for Appliance and Product Safety (short: 2.GPSV); on many supplied Spinners the required CE label, readable operating manual, as well as clearly identifiable item numbers were missing.
Social Media is changing the Development of Trends in Trading
The trend started mostly online and went viral within days. Already in April, 50.000 videos to the topic “Fidget Spinner” were uploaded to YouTube weekly, the Google search for “Fidget Spinner German” found 4.000 then, and more than one Million sites today. Worldwide, 3 Million videos about Fidget Spinners are posted on YouTube today. As the demand curve on zentrada shows, retailers started searching for Spinners to resale in the beginning of May, exactly parallel to the increasing consumer demand; the number of new signups on zentrada was on a yearly high at the time. Generally, the established suppliers were not able to react to this fast growing trend in time, therefore retailers had to source through new channels.
“These mega Trend-Products are rare and bring great business. But today, they also have to fight with a shortened product life cycle, accelerated through the Internet”, says Martina Schimmel, Manager zentrada Germany. In contrast to the topic Loom Bands, which created a similar hype two years ago, the Fidget Spinner didn’t create continuous demand. “The Loom bands became a real topic for handicrafts, which we could follow on all our marketplaces across Europe”, so Schloo. Zentrada is with more than 70.000 products in the sector toys and giftware the leading online source for independent retailers, especially when looking for short-term trend products and supplement lineups.
The topic Fidget Spinner is now continuing on a lower level. At the moment, flying Spinner, as well as Spinner in new shapes (cube, snowflake-design), are trending. Additionally, a complementary business has developed, for example boxes and bags to store the Spinners.
zentrada counts on Product Stocks within Europe
“If a retailer buys his products in China, he is practically the producer and introducer to the European market and has to adhere to all regulations therefore. Many product groups are regulated by law to protect the consumers. Since children often put toys into their mouths and also play with them for a long time, regulations for toys are extremely high. Therefore, we only recommend professionals with corresponding experience to import these products”, says Martina Schimmel. “For this reason, we only allow suppliers with location and stock within the European Union on our Platforms”.
The review of the last months offers the following conclusion: Retailers that want to benefit from trends like this have to act really fast and consistent. In the frequently changing business of trend product, the best offers are often sold out – especially in wholesale – and the demand highs decrease quicker. In addition, it is important for the retailer to ensure for his customers, that the products he is selling conform to all regulations. But also the consumers have to be protected better, especially on the Internet. Platforms such as eBay and especially Amazon are today already dominated by Asian suppliers who deliver directly. Since small deliveries are rarely controlled up to today, products are sometimes dangerous, EU-norms don’t apply, and in many cases the seller doesn’t pay sales tax in the appropriate country of sale.
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-“Independent retailers are really close to the customers, but often far away from the best suppliers-“. Therefore, more and more retailers see the chance to make their assortments more attractive and diversified through online sourcing, to survive the tough competition.
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