Much has been written in the past two months or so about the birth of a new kind of consumer, one who realizes the value of things doesn’t really have anything to do with things. People and relationships are what matters. It’s not what kind of car you drive or how many square feet your house measures.
Yeah right. As soon as unemployment dips below 8%, consumption will come roaring back, because consumerism is hardwired into the American psyche. The problem is, a new round of layoffs has some folks worried about this tenuous recovery. At press time, Walmart announced it was laying off 11,000 employees at its Sam’s Club wholesale club chain stores. Xerox and Oracle announced layoffs too.
Despite all the uncertainty, the household and personal products industry appears to be stabilizing. Although it hadn’t reported its second quarter results at press time, Estée Lauder was expected to report net sales growth of between 10 and 11%—above earlier projections. The higher-than-anticipated gains are the result of stronger net sales, favorable product mix and the “positive effect of continued cautious spending,” the company said.
Caution seems to be a key word in today’s economy, but so is innovation. Nearly every marketer and supplier that we’ve spoken with during the past few months insists that the pace of innovation is only increasing, as consumers look for products that perform a variety of tasks at a reasonable price point. No wonder why marketers are rolling out new detergents, cleaners and cosmetics even if the economy remains in flux.
To ensure that the innovations keep rolling out the door, R&D staffs rely on a steady stream of novel ingredients and packaging concepts. With that in mind, we present our annual Buyer’s Guide, which includes more than 500 industry suppliers that offer a broad range of active and functional chemicals, packaging components and services. Our Buyer’s Guide, has been expanded in recent years to include nearly 400 categories. Available online at Happi.com, it is updated throughout the year. If you’re in a buying mood again, and you need a particular ingredient or packaging component, the Happi Buyer’s Guide is the place to shop.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.