This ad will be closed automatically in X seconds.

Trends Driving The Licensed Gift Market

In the run up to Brand Licensing Europe (BLE), which takes place from 4-6 October at London’s ExCeL, the show’s event director, Ella Haynes, asked four leading licensing industry exhibitors to reveal the trends that are currently driving the licensed gifting market.  

Lauren Sizeland, head of licensing and business development at the V&A, reveals that the museum is seeing an increase in people buying gifts that are useful and consumable. They include tote bags and hydration bottles, as well as tea and biscuits, featuring packaging with residual use. “There seems to be a shift, with friends and family asking the intended recipient what they might like/need,” says Lauren.

Above: A branded tin of hot chocolate is among the V & A’s licensed offer in food gifting.
Above: A branded tin of hot chocolate is among the V & A’s licensed offer in food gifting.

“Consumers want to make sure they are buying a gift that shows they care, and that they have thought about the recipient, with a licensed product developed in a bespoke way fitting the bill,” comments Ian Downes, director of Start Licensing,whose portfolio of brands includes Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.  “For example, gift licensee Half Moon Bay invested in custom design for their Aardman range, and developed products that reflect the characters brilliantly, including a range of 3D mugs that include special editions such as a golden Gromit and a colour change mug.”

Above: A Wallce & Gromit special edition mug from Half Moon Bay.
Above: A Wallce & Gromit special edition mug from Half Moon Bay.

Food gifting is also continuing to gain traction, with Pink Key Consulting’s managing director Richard Pink believing it to be a continuing trend. “It seems to be as strong as ever with more brands being picked up for this area. Debenhams was a big driver but the hole they left in the market has been picked up across the board with supermarkets and discounters doing more each year.”

Sustainability meanwhile, is a driving force for the Natural History Museum. “Our goal is to develop beautiful products with great stories, but sustainability is also a huge influence for us, given what the Natural History Museum stands for,” emphasises Maxine Lister, head of licensing. “We’ve seen strong performances from the stationery range we created with Blueprint Collections. It had sustainability at its heart and won an award at the 2023 B&LLAS. It’s the case across all categories, not just gifting.”

Above: The National History Museum’s Make Your Own Dinosaur Puppets.
Above: The National History Museum’s Make Your Own Dinosaur Puppets.

Maxine points out that creating sustainable gifts demands a great licensee/licensor/retailer relationship. “We love working with like-minded partners and highlighting the licensees on the journey with us, because there is so much innovation in the gifting market, from the use of recycled paper in product and packaging right through to biodiversity in food gifting. These may seem like small conversations, but when you’re dealing with multiple 1000s of units, it adds up to a significant, positive impact.”

Above:  Colourful dinosaur erasers from the Natural History Museum.
Above:  Colourful dinosaur erasers from the Natural History Museum.

While character and entertainment brands such as Wallace and Gromit, Moomins, Peanuts, Miffy and Hello Kitty continue to enjoy great success in gifting, heritage brands are also strong, with both the Natural History Museum and the V&A winning awards. “A few years ago, gifting was character and blockbuster driven,” continues Maxine. “Now it covers so much more, with heritage having an important part to play in that. It’s a big focus for us over the next few years.

“We’re lucky that the brand appeals to both kids and adults, but I think we have also proved how versatile a heritage brand can be,” she continues. “Having said that, we are also very protective of our brand. We know the Museum holds a very special place in many people’s hearts, and licensing can help us to reach those who aren’t yet aware of who we are, or what we do, and help us in our mission to create advocates for the planet.”

Above: Visitors browsing the aisles at last year’s show.
Above: Visitors browsing the aisles at last year’s show.

Lauren Sizeland meanwhile, emphasises that the V & A was one of the first heritage organisations to enter the licensing arena, having begun its programme in the mid-1990s. “We are well established in multiple territories and across a wide range of categories and ensure all our partners share the same values, and are extremely rigorous in all aspects of design, development and marketing,” she states. “All our products are authenticated by compelling stories from our rich archives, and it’s that combination which enables us to stand out from the crowd.”

This year, over 220 companies will be exhibiting at Brand Licensing Europe,(BLE), with thousands of licensable IPs, and new brands, new products and trend guides available for visitors.

There will also be 2024 sneak peeks from the Natural History Museum, with Start Licensing showcasing everything from Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run 2 to Nadiya Hussain and The Ashmolean Museum. There will also be imagery of gifts, cards, stationery and tote bags from the V&A’s interiors programme, and a combination of food and related hardware from Pink Key.

Above: Nadiya Hussain is represented by Start Licensing.
Above: Nadiya Hussain is represented by Start Licensing.

The Kellogg’s bowl combo is a favourite year in, year out,” highlights Richard Pink. “Our brands – Kellogg’s, Pringles, SLUSH PUPPiE and more – don’t stand still. Our licensees are constantly developing new products and brand interpretations that demonstrate how flexible you can be with brand assets. They are classic, but they are also very contemporary, and the products our licensees are developing demonstrate the possibilities brilliantly. We’d love to show visitors what we mean and the success that is possible.”

Above: The Kellogg’s bowl combo features a bowl, mug and spoon.
Above: The Kellogg’s bowl combo features a bowl, mug and spoon.

1A-BLE LOGOTo register for Brand Licensing Europeclick here.

The Meetings Platform is also open with thousands of meetings already booked: click here

 Top: BLE is getting ready to welcome visitors at London’s ExCeL from 4-6 October.

MORE NEWS
Gift Awards
 
GiftsandHome.net shares some of the most memorable photos taken on the night...
GiftAwardsTrophies
 
“Honoured”, “Very proud” and “Absolutely thrilled” were just some of the phrases that summed up how winners are feeling after their success at last week’s glittering event...
Royal Mail
 
“This is a crucial period and we need to encourage everyone to write to their MPs”...
Theo_LSS
 
“You must have a reason to exist in business. There has to be a reason for people to come into your shop, to cross the threshold”...
HKTDC_
 
Featuring sustainable, cultural and creative products, to include gifts, the shows attracted over 60,000 buyers...
GA24
 
From going live on Tik Tok to plans to hold a beach party, Greats winners were all guns blazing as they celebrated their success following last Thursday’s event...
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.