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Spending on New Zealand dads at Father’s Day seems to be catching up with Mother’s day according to the Retail News website which used figures provided by Paymark to identify spending spikes at both periods.
“Spending through the Paymark network, in shops identified as most likely to be the source of gifts, reveal that last year Mother’s and Father’s Day spending was pretty much even – $9 million for the mums; $8.9 million for the dads,” said Retail News’ article.
While hardly conclusive (the report doesn’t identify what was purchased or who purchased it) this does fly in the face of US figures, with Forbes Magazine reporting that planned spending on Mother’s Day was 40% higher on Mother’s Day than Father’s Day in 2013.
However there are some theories that as Mother’s Day takes place in spring in the US (a historical spike period for US shoppers emerging from hard winters) that may be skewing the figures a little.
So, regardless of whether mothers are getting less or fathers are getting more, they do seem to be evening out. That means there is plenty of potential left in Father’s Day for those involved in the appliance and electronics channel to take advantage of.
Many of the players we speak to on a regular basis are also of the opinion that New Zealand dads are getting easier to shop for with many pointing to internet shopping as the preferred way for mall-phobic dads to window shop (see sidebar on page 28).
WHAT WORKS & WHAT DOESN’T?
To get a better idea of how all this affects New Zealand’s appliance and electronics channel I spoke to key suppliers, retailers and key figures in marketing to the modern Kiwi man to get an idea on what to expect this September.
With action cameras seen as one of the biggest big growth categories in electronics and Roy Morgan figures showing New Zealand men doing a range of filmable activities, from mountain biking to sea fishing, are these kinds of electronic gadgets a good option for Father’s Day or is the $500+ price tag a little much?
Sony’s Peter Buckton would suggest the latter: “The feeling is that Father’s Day is not a huge driver of sales for our industry (we don’t have specific Father’s Day promotions at this time of year) but smaller value items like headphones and Bluetooth speakers have typically shown a lift in sales, though nothing like Christmas,” he says.
A central concern with Father’s Day promotions (or any gift giving day for that matter) is that the person using the product may not be the person buying it and marketing often has to take this into account.
When asked about this, DéLonghi’s Reece Ford accepts that within the current financial climate larger purchasers like fully automatic machines are probably not surprise gifts.
“Normally an expensive purchase is a treat, a fully automatic coffee machine is a considered purchase and usually if the decision has been made to purchase during Father’s Day it has been researched, thought about and discussed. So even if it’s been bought as a gift it’s already been decided. You don’t go out and blow $500-2,000 without discussing it with your partner.”
That may be why products that span a wide range of prices starting at the $20 mark and going up seem to be a safer bet for Father’s Day.
SIMPLE SOLUTIONS AT A REASONABLE PRICE
Amber Technology is in a good position to exploit this, with Group Brand Manager Brent Malone reporting good sales coming from Amber’s wide range of headphones around Father’s Day last year.
“We were still building last year and working hard at establishing our brand presence,” Malone says. “But what did work well was our Marshall Headphones where we did a 2 for 1 deal, so you could purchase a major on-ear model and receive an in-ear for free.”
In an area of the market that has been heavily saturated, Amber has done well with the wide variety of colour options that the Urban Ears headphones range provide.
“The Platten was all about colour and style and we focused on this as a clear marketing point of difference to the normal, black and white options from other brands, so they were new and provided a point of difference to the norm,” he says.
Amber also did well with its sales of One for All universal remotes which start at appealing prices and potentially provide an instant solution to something that has been annoying couch commander dads.
“We had hoped our remote sales would work and they did with one major retailer who promoted them really well. The one real winner in remotes was our price entry device at $29.99.”
PROMOTIONS, PACKS AND NEW PRODUCTS
DéLonghi’s Reece Ford has overseen plenty of promotions in his time at DéLonghi which have capitalised on newly launched machines: cash back promotions and added value attracting new customers or keeping existing ones. We asked what approach has worked best for him in previous Father’s Days.
“Leading up to Father’s Day you have a narrow corridor of products that would appeal and coffee is the obvious one to sing and dance about. We have always excelled in all areas of coffee and currently capsule is the category that’s exceeding expectations.
“It’s an insane place to be at the moment especially as there is plenty of growth in the market, we have capitalised on this with both our Dolce Gusto and Nespresso machines leading the charge supporting retailers and consumers with aggressive cash back promotions that drive foot traffic into stores.”
Many suppliers I spoke to swore to the effectiveness of gift packs and giveaways during the Father’s Day period. Conair’s Jeremy Puttick did well with gift packs last year in men’s grooming with limited edition packs targeting new customers wanting to spruce up (or their partners wanting to spruce them up) and existing customers looking to trade up to new technology such as the cordless options that have reached similar price points to tethered models.
“Last year’s Father’s Day was fantastic for us. Men’s grooming is a hot category at the moment and we launched a series of new products, and new packaging and it all seemed to work incredibly well.
“And this year there are two new gift packs. One is a limited edition corded hair clipper in a nice presentation box with a nice pouch with it as well, while the second one comes in a gift type package and contains a cordless hair clipper and cordless beard trimmer,” Puttick says.
Going back to DéLonghi, Reece Ford explains the benefits of actually giving things away at Father’s Day: “DéLonghi’s current range exceeds consumer expectations and trends, and depending on which machine is purchased, DéLonghi are giving away 6 or 12 months of beans,” Ford says.
“It’s certainly one of our most popular campaigns as our customer feedback is exceptional – people love it and it gives us a chance to communicate with our end users. Each month we send them a letter saying thanks from us, give them tips on maintaining their machine, keeping their beans fresh or telling them about a new and exciting product alongside their beans for the month.”
It’s no secret that New Zealanders have embraced good quality coffee and the accompanying culture (and of course products) that surrounds that, but are there aspects of coffee appreciation that appeal more to Kiwi men than women? For instance do men generally prefer a capsule or manual machine?
“That’s a hard one because personally I’m impatient and I don’t like the mess associated with grinding coffee. In simple terms I’m lazy, so a fully automatic or capsule machine is perfect for me but many men love the theatre, they still love to grind, and do all that wonderful stuff that gives you the smells, the emotions and the theatre behind coffee,” explains Reece Ford.
GADGETRY, NOVELTY AND NEW TECH
Guys do like to be a little nerdy about stuff, enjoying the meditative space that performing a series of technical tasks well can provide.
Then of course sometimes you just want to get the job done quickly and get going, so products that can walk the line between saving time while providing a satisfying experience can be winners at Father’s Day.
“Manual machines from DéLonghi may provide a happy mid-point between the two worlds of convenience and control especially as the new range of Dedica manuals can take pods, so starting in August we’ll be selling the pods for these machines and, more importantly for retailers and previous DéLonghi customers, they fit all previous DéLonghi manuals that were sold in New Zealand. So it’s a step in the right direction where if you are a purist and you like beans, great, or if you lean towards convenience and want to put a pod in there, it’s covered,” Ford says.
Technologies like this that can either broach a gap or offer a new way to save time or effort are often an excellent way to get stubborn dads to buy into a new system.
Shaving is one of the more irritating and constant tasks that every man faces and adding a little gadgetry (and fun) to essentially mundane tasks is another angle that retailers and suppliers can take when approaching Father’s Day.
Key Services’ Steven Meek is in the envious position of offering a new style of shaver that has just come off an international launch to Kiwi consumers this Father’s Day.
“Worldwide this has been the most successful Braun shaver launch ever, and we are expecting the same in New Zealand. Traditionally we have targeted consumers who are looking at upgrading their partners’ current electric shaver for Father’s Day. This year the Cooltec shaver gives us the advantage of targeting both current electric and traditional blade users who have not converted to electric shaving.”
The Cooltec range also has massive gadgetry appeal with a new type of heat conversion system providing just enough novelty and interest to capture the imagination of dads this year.
“The Cooltec utilises technology never seen before in shaving, which is proven to reduce skin irritation. And unlike previous innovations, Braun has targeted the mid-price point purchaser, which gives us a dramatically increased pool of consumers,” Meek says.
So providing new tech, solutions for life and good experiences sounds like a great way to approach Father’s Day in 2014 – that’s Sunday 7 September by the way. Here’s hoping you have your promos in pace and good luck in September!
WHAT SHAPE ARE FATHERS IN RIGHT NOW? ARE THEY LOOKING SHARP OR LOOKING ONLINE?
We’ve also been plumbing the depths of Roy Morgan Single Source New Zealand for the year to June 2014 to gauge what dads (in the form of Kiwi men aged 30+) are feeling and thinking right now and what they’re into.
Good run guys, now pass the ketchup – In terms of wellbeing, 30-something Kiwi blokes say they’re typically feeling well and in good health (80%) and they don’t feel health food is necessary, so long as they eat properly (76%).
The flipside of that is that 67% bought something from a takeaway in the last 3 months and over half also said they’d like to be able to lose weight (53%).
This is presumably why 48% did some form of exercise in the last 3 months! What sort of exercise? The 30+ Kiwi male’s top 10 regular participation sports are as follows:
As an aside, we’re not sure that the last sport will do much to shrink dad’s waistline, though…
You bought what online? – While we’re here in data land, what is dad’s outlook when it comes to buying stuff? Almost half (46%) of Kiwi men aged 30+ bought something on the internet in the last 3 months. If this figure seems high, it’s simply because they’re clearly reticent about being prompted to buy in other channels:
Kiwi guys and surf culture – So buying over the net is an accepted thing. What else do Kiwis guys do online? In the last month they researched a product or service to buy (34%) and then paid for purchases using a credit card (34%).
Apart from the obvious tasks (eg email, bank balance etc) they also carried out the following online actions in the last month:
What does all this tell us about New Zealand men aged 30+? That they are conscious of their weight and wellbeing (some things never change); that bigger is not always better; that going online and buying something is just part of life these days; that they are as likely to stream video as they are going to the movies; and that, despite popular opinion, less than 15% used the net to find the keenest price possible.